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A Letter To My Daughter

A PumkinHead in the White House

A Real Bad Day For Witchcraft

A Real Reason To Vote

A Time for War, a Time for Peace and a Time to Browse the Bookstore

A Wonderful Piece of News

The Aftermath of Columbine High School

Beating A Not-So-Hasty Retreat

Behind Enemy Lines

Breakfast Will Be Served In Fifteen Minutes...

Building a Circle of Trust

But What Will People Think?

By Their Furniture, Ye Shall Know Them

Caution: Restricted Area

Cleaning Out The Junk Drawer

Community Power Who Holds it?

Community Thoughts on Tempest Smith

Compelling without the Yelling

Confessions of a News Junkie

The Consistancy of Change...


Coping with Grief

Cramming It Down Our Throats...

Damned if you do and Damned if you don't

Declaring Your Personal Independence Day

Did Your World Change Too?

Dreaming in The Dark...

There is No Zuul

There's a Rabbit In The Moon...

Excavating the Dinosaur Altar

Fair Use, Copyright and the Pagan Net

Feeding Our Young

The First Day

Gather 'Round The Fire

Getting Back To Nature

Getting Back To Normal

Getting Rid of What Bugs You

Gifts That Keep On Giving...

The Giving Circle

Gods In A China Shop...

Good And Evil: In The Shadow Of Littleton And The Garden Of The Gods.

Good Will Toward Men

The Great Hamster Myth

Happy Beltaine!

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The Heart of A Mechanic

Helping Hands

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Hidden Hatred Haunts Pagans

Home is Where the Spirit Is

Homosexuality and Public Policy

The Household of Priests and Priestesses

If The Hissy Fits

In A Mirror Darkly...

In Your Dreams

The Internet Reaches beyond Washington

It All Happens Locally

It Is Your Destiny

It's Maypole Week 'Round the World

It's Tribal Time!

January Arrives Wearing A White Coat

Judging Amy -- Wren's Thoughts

Killed a Goat Today

Knot Charming

Learning How To Fly

Life With Mikey

Listening To The Story

Listening To The Woods

Living In A Banana Republic

Living Through A Drought

Logging On and Speaking Out!

The Long and Short Of It

The Love of Ordinary Things

Mabon... a Man for all Seasons

Magick's Arrow

Mamas, Don't let your Babies...

The Media Story Is Often Not The True One

Mercury Has Left the Building

Minding Your News P's and Q's

Mixed Blessings

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Whine and Euripedes

Author: Wren
Posted: November 18th. 2002
Times Viewed: 9,983

"This is slavery, not to speak one's thought.". -- (Euripides)

Euripides was one of the greatest of the ancient Greek playwrights. Not that many of the men and women who comprised his contemporary early fifth-century B.C.E. audiences thought of him as such at the time. It's not that the Greeks didn't love their dark tragedies. They did; and the darker and more tragic the tale, the more popular was the play. Throw in some guilt-ridden eye gouging and a little hanky-panky with the Gods and the crowd generally went away happy little playbill-tossers. And since Euripides wrote some darker than dark stuff, you'd think that he would have been quite popular on the streets of Athens.

Not so. You see, Euripides (Euripedes) was a curmudgeon. He was a recluse. He rarely went out and hardly ever socialized. That alone might have labeled him as an eccentric. But the bad reviews that he suffered during his lifetime had less to do with his personal quirks than it had to do with his message. In this time when Athens was at war, most plays and orations celebrated the rhetorical glories of the City's past and Her heroes and offered up assurances that the Gods were most definitely on Her side. But not so with Euripides. Rather, in his works, the Gods were dragged down to earth and the classical heroes were stripped bare of their superhuman personas.

In the rah-rah-rah of the Athenian patriotic glee-fest, Euripides was most definitely a few rahs short of the bandwagon.

Euripides was a whiner. I don't know what the Greek word for 'whiner' is but I'm sure that if there is one, Euripides heard it a lot. He didn't go along with the crowd. He didn't believe that the leaders of Athens were always right and he was never sure if the Gods were really on Her side. He disagreed with the mainline thought and he would not 'go along to get along'. And then to really seal his own fate, he went on to perform that one unpardonable act that is sure to make any guy who throws a monkey wrench into the politically powerful machine very, very unpopular: He actually made the people think.

The Founding Fathers and Heroes of Greece and Athens were not perfect as Euripides portrayed them. They were simply men and women with all of the doubts and mortal failings inherent in that human condition. His characters did not succeed -- even if in fact they managed to succeed at all -- because they were better or half-God or possessed some other supernatural edge over the average man or woman on the street. His heroes and heroines -- and villains, too -- very much resembled the people who were fidgeting in the rows at the performance of one of his plays. Neither graced by semi-divine blood nor necessarily blessed by Divine favor, it was up to the average man or woman to do what needed to be done. And to simply do it as best he or she could. Hence the fidgeting.

Euripides, in a radical departure from his more classical minded contemporaries, made it quite clear that regardless of what any Gods might do -- or not do -- in the course of world events, every single man or woman is still responsible for how his or her life and future turns out. Whether the Gods bless you or curse you, you cannot either coast or sink on that alone: You must swim. You must be involved in life and in current events. There are no safe pews or cheap seats.

Everyone is a part of what happens now and what will take shape in the future. There is no good in blaming the Gods when things go wrong. It is not Gods, but human mores and laws that will in the end either restrict freedoms or free the slaves. It is not for honor of Gods, but for human greed and glory that the wars are fought. And it is not the will of the Gods that most people adhere to anyway, but rather it is the will of their political or religious leaders that they so blindly follow. (Fidget, fidget, fidget.)

Euripides encouraged his patrons to question authority. And to especially question any authority that declared that it spoke for the Gods. Blind obedience to the 'law' in his plays never turns out all that well. He turned the tables on the politically popular notions of his day as he brought the pain of the raped victims from the sack of Troy by beloved Athenian 'heroes' on stage for all to see. At a time when Athens could do no wrong, he pointed out just how wrong Athens had sometimes been. He made people look at the very things that they would rather not see. No wonder Euripides was one pretty unpopular guy.

Whiners and dissenters are never popular. They point out discrepancies. They expose hypocrisies. They question whether it is really a God's will that ordains certain things be done or whether it is indeed some mortal governor or ideologue claiming to speak in a God's name who is actually setting the course of action. And some whiners, like Euripides, are not particularly quiet about what they see going on.

In troubling times, it is easier to just remain silent and hidden and bitch secretly to your friends. It is certainly more politically correct if you want to remain popular with the masses. Making people fidget is not the recommended method to win friends and influence people. Best leave it to the Gods then and go about your life and trust that the situation will all turn out as it is suppose to. Please, don't make the people fidget. Don't show the people the other side. Don't hold the people responsible for all that they do. And for the sake of their own backsides, don't make the people feel responsible for what they do not do.

Whiners, we can dismiss. Dissenters, we can ignore. But the people who believe that they are actually responsible for what happens in the world and who begin to act on that belief in ways that make others fidget...Well, that is a different matter altogether. They'll be unpopular, of course, but what if that fact alone doesn't stop them?

What if they continue to speak out? What if they continue to point to what the majority does not want to see? What if they continue to write plays or books or to publish articles? Just how much fidgeting can people take before they begin to think for themselves? What if they all start getting up from their seats in the audience to become actively engaged in life and current events?

Well, sure, they'd be unpopular.

"A coward turns away, but a brave man's choice is danger."*

But what would really happen if more people decided to serve up a little Euripides with their whine?

Wren Walker
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, November, 18th., 2002

*(Euripides; Iphigenia in Tauris, circa 412 B.C.)

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