Humanities I: Essay #1
The Unstable Mind of Cruelty
Cruelty is a biological instinct that is programmed in all of humanity. Instincts are lead by
the deprivation of needs; that of which we need we find. A fundamental and intrinsic need of all
human beings is the approval of yourself and the approval of others. To doubt oneself or be
disapproved by others can lead to an unstable self-image. Insecurities of physicality and
emotional vulnerability, can lead to behaviors of aggression to those who stand as a threat to
your own acceptance and mar the opinion of others. Lack of acceptance by others can lead to a
fear that others will exploit you. Fragmentation is the term used to describe ...view middle of the document...
In the book “Oresteia” by Aeschylus, in order to gain acceptance
from the gods and in fear of losing to the Trojan army, Agamemnon is forced to a callous deed to
win the war and gain recognition.
During the Trojan War the Greek fleet is halted by the harsh changes in nature.
Agamemnon and his army was stopped in there tracks by harsh winds sent by Artemis. The
conditions that the gods wished upon the Greeks made Agamemnon worrisome and feared that it
would lead them to their demise. When the prophet of Apollo gave an interpretation of the winds
he professed, “the king must slaughter a suffering, trembling female creature together with its
young before coming to the birth and sacrifice a suffering, trembling female creature, their own
offspring, in front of the armies” (Aeschylus, 24). The oracles interpretation forces Agamemnon
to chose between defeating Troy and the safety of his daughter. Greek mythologies emphasis on
the weakness of humans led to the decision to sacrifice his daughter. To please the god Artmeis,
defeat Troy and gain recognition, Iphigeneia had to be sacrificed. Agamemnon had the choice,
“before hymn Agamemnon’s murder of Iphigenia seemed ordained, but the hymn implicitly
evokes his power of choice” (Aeschylus, 25). The decision to sacrifice his daughter gains
acceptance from the gods and helps him gain respect for leading the Greeks to victory. Cruelty
manifested as self-gratification; causing physical pain to his daughter, mental pain to his wife, in
order to gain power and respect in Greece.
A biological need for all humans is a desire to be accepted. Depriving humans of this
need can tend to lead humans to act in unpredictable manors. In the book, “The History of the
Peloponnesian War” by Thucydides, following the Persian war Athens lacks the recognition of
power they believe is deserved and in turn subjugates their enemies.
During and proceeding the Persian war, Athens and Sparta remained the two most
powerful regions of Greece. But when disputes arose during the Persian war they began to
challenge each other’s loyalty leading them to become skeptical of each other. During the
Persian War the Athenians sacrificed more than any other region. According to the Athenians at
the Debate at Sparta, “we Athenians provided the three things that contributed most to the
victory: the largest number of ships, the most intelligent commander, and the unhesitating zeal”
(Thucydides, 21). The sacrifices and resources the Athenians lost, caused a feeling of resentment
to those that failed to aid in the affair. “ In our actions at that time we took risks to achieve
benefits that partly went to you in actual fact; at this point we should not be deprived of all our
glory, for what it’s worth” (Thucydides, 21). Athens sought to seek the recognition they deserved
from being such a prominent factor in winning the Persian war. After the division and the
formation of allies Athens feared their...