From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
In Aeschylus, as in Sophocles for that matter, "motive" refers to public
reason for an action, not the private state of one's soul. The oracle at
Delphi was the center of aristocratic power in Greece, and its
injunction to "Know yourself" should be translated into modern thought
as "Know your place" or, more explicitly yet, "Honor your betters or get
your head smashed in," which Athenian peasants and artisans, to the
immortal disgust of Plato, stubbornly refused to do, thereby creating
what, so far, is as close as the world has ever come to actual democracy
(rule of the _demos_).
I pretty much agree with this. I see little or no similarity
in the Greek plays to what we might call personal conscience.
It is the pattern of opursuit that is similar, not the reasons.
CF The Hound of Heaven by Francis what's his name.
Indeed the Athenian body politic was highly homogenous
or interconnected with virtually what one might call
a public consciousnes, which one must adhere to to be
a good citizen. The person who tried to be a private
individual was designate3d as an idiotae.
Some recent commentators on Qedipus at Colonus see more of
a privare experience and resolution of guilt. That no doubt
would have suited Eliot for The Elderstates... oops, sorry
Jennifer, The Elder Statesman.