Eudaemonia In Homer's Odyssey

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A pervasive theme occurring early and throughout Greek history is the unspoken progression toward achieving a balance between citizenship and individualism, war and peace, freedom and servitude, labor and relaxation, ritualistic beliefs in somewhat primitive gods versus the origins and order of the kosmos. Ultimately, the Greeks aspired to achieve eudaemonia, “a life of activity governed by reason” (Merriam-Webster). Early traces of the concept that becomes known as eudaemonia can be seen in Homer’s myths, in the Odyssey Homer illustrates how labor and civil order are unknown to the Cyclops (Freeman, 112). Homer influenced much of Greek society over centuries, passing down more than just myth, everyone knew the stories, and the stories in turn influenced society as a whole. Always pressing forward towards progression, the use of myth, poetry and lyric aided in planting ideas…show more content…
Following this advance, Greek society had to progress towards a balance between war and peace. When waring for war 's sake and no good cause, there can be no eudaemonia. However, peace when there ought to be a fight for liberty or resources also cannot result in a life of eudaemonia. Contributing to the evolution of Greek thought on this matter, is the vacillation between instability and stability in the Mediterranean economy, as well as the almost continual strife just to sustain the lives of yourself and your family. Balance is key, and in the Mediterranean peace was hard to come by, and yet so was fertile soil and adequate resources. Yet, hearkening back to Homer 's influence, the people believed that one could lead a life of eudaemonia even in times of war. So strong were the Greek beliefs that they influenced others to share in their ideas of law and order, and even in wartime there was cultural benefit, a glorification of virtues and values such as glory and valour, ideas that contributed to the impending revolution of thought that would ultimately lead to the birth of eudaemonia
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