Seneca's Argument Of Stoicism

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Seneca lived in a time long after the fall of the Roman Republic, where one sole ruler controlled the government. He acted as a tutor and advisor to a young Nero during his reign as emperor. Along with Burrus, Seneca had great influence over Nero during his early years as emperor. However, he and Burrus lost that power when they refused to assist Nero in the murder of his mother. Seneca further lost favor with Nero after Burrus’s death and was later accused to be associated with the Pisonian Conspiracy and ordered to commit suicide (Seneca xii). Seneca was an adherent of stoicism and argued that reason was the greatest of human virtues and that passions must be subdued. If passion were to overpower reason, then chaos would follow, which is…show more content…
Atreus is so hungry for revenge and power, it defeats his ability to reason. Atreus decides to trick Thyestes into eating his own sons as payback. Atreus is not satisfied with just killing Thyestes, he has to completely destroy him to be satisfied. This parallels with Nero, who killed anyone who threatened his power or plotted against him. Nero has his step brother, Britannicus, killed so that his rule was not opposed. He then has his mother assassinated due to her opposition to his relationship with a married woman (Seneca xii). When Nero discovers the Pisonian Conspiracy to overthrow him, he goes out of his way to have anyone so much as implicated as having a part in the plot executed. Much like Atreus, Nero lets his passions rule his life by unjustly killing those that he felt threatened his power.
Since all of Seneca’s plays lack dates, it is unknown when he wrote Thyestes. It is speculated that the Thyestes was written sometime during Nero’s rule (Seneca xiv). If it had been during Nero’s early rule, then Thyestes serves as a warning to the young ruler of what not to do as emperor. However, if the play had been written during Nero’s tyranny, then maybe this was Seneca’s way of pleading with the emperor to listen to

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