Essay on Moral Decay in Hesiod's Tales

Essay on Moral Decay in Hesiod's Tales

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One of the most unmistakable, evident themes of Hesiod's didactic narratives is the moral decay of the characters portrayed within them. Ironically, many of his creatures which he brings alive in his literature develop this decay in an evolutionary succession. Hesiod conveys to his readers this idea of negative succession mainly within one of his more well-known works, Theogony. Both groups of characters in the Theogony, gods and mortals, display this moral decay as his story progresses. This decomposition of law and morality within succeeding generations of characters is brought about by different events, according to Hesiod. In Hesiod's Theogony, different races of men are created and destroyed according to the will of the gods, so it appears that Hesiod is putting the gods in control of the general disposition of the mortals. The gods, unlike some mortals, have no superior being to fall back on or to blame their behaviors on, so it seems to me that they more at fault with their wicked behaviors than the race of men in this narrative. Although it seems that Hesiod attempts to put these immortals in a good light by tinting the image of their questionable behavior with his constant flattering adjectives (and such), he, either consciously or inadvertently, paints a dark picture of their true ethics and characters.

Different theories have been developed which relate to this theme of moral decay throughout history, even several centuries after Hesiod's life. This idea of evolutionary decay seems to corroborate with the widely received, contemporary theory of evolution, or Darwinism, brought forth through the designs and beliefs of Charles Darwin in which he states that, in nature, only the fittest creatures will survive ...


... middle of paper ...


...stion that mankind was not always so selfish and violent as in this age of iron that we live in.

It is ironic that the entity in existence was the being called Chaos, for although it's Greek translation is Chasm, or emptiness, I believe that chaos and disorder will be their fate if the gods continue this eternal cycle of increasing self destructive behavior. All of this, however, was created as through the beliefs and imagination of Hesiod. Historians and mythologists still can not concretely separate, in his two stories, the Theogony and the Works and Days, which parts were of his imagination and which were not; it is therefore difficult to determine what the author's overall message was to the readers. It is possible that Hesiod wrote these stories in order to discredit the gods with gossip of their alleged human-like violence and sexual transgressions.

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