Characteristics Of Eris

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In Works and Days, Hesiod wrote, “I see there is not only one Strife-brood on earth, there are two,” (“Works and Days,” 37). Moreover, he distinguished between the two Eris-goddesses that have such distinct dispositions and vastly different effects on human beings. The first Eris, born of Black Night, promotes wicked things and is harmful to humans. However, the other Eris, placed on earth by Zeus, is beneficial to humans, and as Frederick Nietzsche explained, was salient to Greek society. The first Eris is portrayed as wicked and is bad for humans. It leads to feuding, wars, and struggles-to-the-death. It is characterized by hatred and destruction. This type of jealousy or envy brings about the downfall of whole nations. It can be cited…show more content…
It is still strife, jealousy, and envy, but it acts as more of an inspiration and motivation. It causes people to work harder to achieve things that they see other people achieving. Nietzsche wrote in Homer’s Contest of this kind of strife saying, “Neighbor competes with neighbor striving for prosperity…. Even potters harbor grudges against potters, carpenters against carpenters, beggars envy beggars and minstrels envy minstrels,” (“Homer’s Contest,” 176). In modern society, it can be as simple as scrolling through Instagram looking at fitness selfies and being inspired to work out harder in the gym, or spending an extra hour studying to get the best grade on a test. This Eris helps humans create more successful versions of themselves as they constantly strive to do better in comparison to others. It is analogous to the “inner drive” that successful people are often said to possess. As Nietzsche stated, this beneficial kind of strife, “…Goads men to action, not however, the action of a struggle-to-the-death but the action of the contest,” (“Homer’s Contest,”…show more content…
While humans today would typically associate a word like “envy” with the bad kind of strife that we typically think of, Nietzsche asserted that the Greeks thought about this concept differently than we do. He stated, “The Greek is envious and does not experience this characteristic as a blemish, but as the effect of a benevolent deity: what a gulf of ethical judgement between him and us!” (“Homer’s Contest,” 177). Thusly, the Greeks thought this strife was positive and important for them, which led to contests and competition permeating Greek society. Everyone in Greek society strived to be the best, whether it was being the best athlete in the Pan-Hellenic Games or being the best play-write or actor in a theatre competition. It can easily be argued that this pervasive competition was what lead the Greeks to be so successful. As Iain Thomson wrote in Deconstructing the Hero, “The ‘superman’ personifies Nietzsche’s idea that the creation of a future worth living requires the continual supersession of the past, while his ‘superhero’ symbolizes the component claim that in order to help create that future, we must supersede even the heroes of the past,” (“Deconstructing the Hero,” 177). This excerpt best describes the Greeks’ view towards competition and their over-arching desire to be the best there ever was in whatever they were

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