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Through suffering comes knowledge

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There’s a universal knowledge that through pain comes the strength to prevail. One must endure suffering to appreciate the joys and wisdoms of life. This same view is believed by the Greeks that one shall suffer to gain knowledge and wisdom. The trials the characters in the Iliad, Odyssey, and Oedipus, the King faced are what led Greek society to stand where it does today. The heroes all agonized in some form for their people to build their community and prevail against obstacles centuries later.

In the Iliad, the story of the Trojan War is the backbone to the turmoil the warriors faced. Both the Greek and the Trojans saw tremendous loss on both sides including the destruction of homes, death of loved ones, and the deterioration of their pride and the value of their names. Technically, the Greeks may have won the war, but in the end, no one finished as winners. “There is nothing alive more agonized than man of all that breathe and crawl across the earth.

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They all lost a part of themselves; and even after the win, the survivors of the Greeks began to question the worth of such prize and accomplishments of beating the Trojans. Achilles, one of the strongest known warriors of the Greeks led his country to a victory, yet to say he is valued the win would be false. Throughout the whole book, Achilles questioned the worthiness of all the fame and glory the warriors of his time adored and sought after time after time. Using Achilles as the prime example to demonstrate the Greeks belief to knowledge and wisdom, it is of definite observation that he was the sole contender to back such idea. Achilles lost his best friend and partner. He lost a part of himself. He unraveled completely as a person, seemingly turning insane at one point and yet, he is the only one that understood what the Greeks know today. A person isn’t of importance because of the wars they won or by their possessions, but by what they can offer to society. He had to suffer greatly to achieve the title of being one of the greatest heroes in Greek history and through that he gained knowledge and wisdom.

He gained the knowledge to know that war wasn’t everything; it holds no true value in terms of making someone a better person. “Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” Achilles suffered to such extent that it ruined him as a person and then eventually found himself towards the end to realize that war, blood, and gore wasn’t all that it held up to be. Although he saw Achilles find the light at the end of the tunnel, it was not comprehended by all, which eventually led the Greeks to the Dark Age. He was first person to respect the beauty of life – to obtain the actuality of feelings. “Like the generations of leaves, the lives of mortal men. Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth, now the living timber bursts with the new buds and spring comes round again. And so with men: as one generation comes to life, another dies away.” Achilles was the future for the later generations. Although not much was done with this epiphany, it was the foundation to Greek society. Then we take a look at The Odyssey. Ten long years after the Trojan War, the great Greek hero, Odysseus, has yet to return home to Ithaca. Instead he is faced on trial after another including the destruction of his ship and the death of all his crew members. It was one tragedy after another.

Odysseus suffered tremendously to his journey home. “A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time”. This includes his personal sufferings, defeats, and overall difficulties he faced trying to return to his family. Homer was sure to start off the book not by the journeys of Odysseus, but instead by the beginning it back home in Ithaca with Telemachus and his mother. He did this to emphasize the importance of family. He showed the weaknesses of a great warrior yearning the return to his family. By doing so, he is paving the pathway for the new generations of Greeks. In order for the people to survive, they had to lessen the desire for war and instead desire something of greater value such as family. “Even his griefs are a joy long after to one that remembers all that he wrought and endured.” Odysseus had to suffer in order to appreciate his return home to his son and wife. From his time away from home, he began to depreciate the war, victory and all. The legend that lives to tell the story of the ten year war found that the prized possessions he has gained, possessed little value in comparison to what he could’ve had living with his family. It is because Odysseus suffered through his adventures that he appreciated the wisdom and knowledge he received. Telemachus, Odysseus’ son is featured as the future generation.

What Odysseus has learned will be passed on to his offspring who will later be the guidance for the people. Oedipus, the King shows another example of how pain and suffering is needed to further level the advancement of knowledge from the outcome of suffering. Even before the time of his birth, Oedipus was given by fate of the gods a future that involves a tragic ending with the marriage of his own mother after killing his father. No matter the great actions that were taken to avoid such ordeal, including the abandonment by his mother at the time of his birth, Oedipus lived on to seal his fate. He left the country of his birth, started a new life, and somehow still ended up to his hometown where he marries his mother and murders his father along the way, all completely oblivious to it all.

When he summons Tiresias, the blind prophet, to solve the murder of the late king, he is told to leave it at peace and to move on with his life. Determined to seek the truth and relieve his city Thebes of the plague, Oedipus digs deeper into the prophecy Tiresias presents him with stating that he, Oedipus, is the killer. He suffered in the way the light shined on the truth to his past and his current standing with his relationship with his mother/ wife and the discovery that he himself was the killer. He suffered in the way he blinded and exiled himself from Thebes. He did all of this to prove that he cared for his people. “O god-all come true, all burst to light! O light-now let me look my last on you! I stand revealed at last-cursed in my birth, cursed in marriage, cursed in the lives I cut down with these hands!” He ruined himself to help Thebes and stop the plague. Oedipus could’ve easily stopped the search for the killer of Laius after he was told by Tiresias and his mother to not investigate further.

“You, you’ll see no more the pain I suffered, all the pain I caused! Too long you looked on the ones you never should have seen, blind to the ones you longed to see, to know! Blind from this hour on! Blind in the darkness-blind!” Oedipus suffered internally and externally in his pathway to the truth. His suffering led him to a basket of truth and knowledge. The wisdom he gained was for the better of his people. It is said that curiosity killed the cat, and indeed it has, in return for the restore of order for Thebes. The Ancient world consists of stories of great legends, tragic heroes, and powerful kings. The discovery of truths was discovered after the consequences of pain and suffering. This insight was the building foundation of today’s Greek society. This allowed for them to grow and prosper away from the Dark Age and regain a sense of order for its people. It was because these heroes faced trials and difficulties that their people were able to learn from it and gain a greater
sense of knowledge.

Cite this Through suffering comes knowledge

Through suffering comes knowledge. (2016, Jun 19). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/through-suffering-comes-knowledge/

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