Power: Good Or Bad Essay

1306 words - 6 pages

Mikala Tidswell

11/03/2008

Professor Bloir

First Paper

Power: Good or Bad?

There are all types of influences that play an important role on the political, economical, and cultural well-being of a society. However, when these influences take on a superior stronghold a community can be subject to unjust or corrupt power. In 1887, John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton is quoted as saying: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”(Action). This can be seen as true when one thinks of past abuses of power, most notably in the reign of Adolf Hitler or throughout the Bolshevik Revolution. However, in Greek mythology power need not ...view middle of the document...

Telemachus has all the power he needs in the beginning of the epic tale of the Odyssey, however he never uses his power for harm. When troubled with making the correct decision he follows the guidance of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and battle, “He’s gone, no sign, no word of him; and I inherit trouble and tears—and not for him alone, the gods have laid such other burdens on me”(line 277, Book 1, page 231). Although Telemachus has the ability to have the suitors, “taken care of,” instead he searches for his father for advice. This shows that although his the highest ranking man in Ithaka, he does not use his power to have people killed, instead sets out on his journey to find his father, Odysseus. Telemachus even warns the suitors that if they shall stay, they will endure the wrath of his father upon his arrival, “if you choose to slaughter one man’s livestock and pay nothing, this is rapine; and by the eternal gods I beg Zeus you shall get what you deserve”(234 line 420 Book 1). Telemachus then sets sail for Pylos with his crew as he deems “come with me, friends, and get our rations down! They are all packed at home, and my own mother knows nothing!—only one maid was told.” (245, line 430 book II). In conclusion, Homer shows that Telemachus puts his power to good use in order to regain peace and stability in Ithaka and to save his mother, Penelope, from an arranged marriage; by bringing back news of Odysseus.

Furthermore, Aristophanes demonstrates that power need not be used to corrupt absolutely through his portrayal of Lysistrata in his the Greek comedy, Lysistrata. Lysistrata is not happy with the men fighting during the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. She believes that the two cities have many cultural similarities and wants the men to return home; after all, the women are the real victims during war. Lysistrata devises a plan in Athens to deny the men sexual relations until an agreement has been reached between the fighting states. Although she does not actually take part in her scheme, she uses her smart wit and delegation skills to win over the Chorus of Women. In one example, she is able to contrive a plan for one of the women Myrrhine when her husband, Kinesias, comes looking for sexual release. In this way, Lysistrata uses her power to good use because she wants the women’s husbands to return so their families can be whole again. By the end of the play, the chorus of men ask for Lysistrata to make a treaty between Sparta and Athens at the Acropolis in which Lysistrata took over with the help of the women in Athens. She uses a naked woman, Peace, to finally show the men how much they need to agree on the treaty in order to get back their wives. In the end, Lysistrata is very successful and everyone rejoices in happiness....

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