The Pursuit of Justice Versus the Fulfillment of Self-Interest in the Odyssey and Electra

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The Pursuit of Justice Versus The Fulfillment of Self-Interest in The Odyssey and Electra If one were to closely analyze the actions that are carried out by the characters in both The Odyssey and Electra, it would be quite difficult to assess what the standards of true justice are in such era of ancient Greece. Certain instances suggest that they work strictly through a measure of balance while others conclude that the people simply do whatever is necessary in order to obey the Gods. However, for every incident that leads to a potential answer, something happens that contradicts it and the reader is left to assume nothing more than that it is a chaotic society that lacks any logic or reason. In a series of brutal encounters, there is always a question of the motives that exist behind the constant violence. From a broad perspective, it seems as if there is always a rational reason for one to act in such a manner (often to avenge another’s death or mistreatment), yet the extent of their viciousness can only lead one to ask if such person is acting out of the pursuit of justice or out of pure expediency. Justice is nothing if not entirely merciless in The Odyssey. For most transgressions, the punishment is given in an extremely harsh manner, usually resulting in one being killed for their behavior. Death is served for even the most miniscule examples of misbehavior, such as inhospitality. There seems to be a general ideology that exists among both men and Gods within their culture that perceives the act of killing another human being to be of relative insignificance. Obviously, in today’s society, we consider the cruelest form of retribution towards someone to be in the form of taking such person’s life or the life of their loved ones. However, it appears that in The Odyssey, whether or not the person performing the murder has made such decision themselves (as opposed to being told to do so through divine order), the characters view death as something that’s...
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