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Guilt by DescentMoral Inheritance and Decision Making in Greek Tragedy$
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N. J. Sewell-Rutter

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199227334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227334.001.0001

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Fate, Freedom, Decision Making: Eteocles and Others

Fate, Freedom, Decision Making: Eteocles and Others

(p.136) 6 Fate, Freedom, Decision Making: Eteocles and Others
Guilt by Descent

N. J. Sewell‐Rutter

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the agency and decision-making processes of the mortals in tragedy on whom the weight of supernatural causation rests. It considers successively fate, mortal freedom, and the processes of decision, with particular emphasis on the so-called ‘decision’ scene of Eteocles in Aeschylus' Septem contra Thebas. This last phase of the investigation does not pretend to be exhaustive in itself, but rather seeks to examine certain relevant aspects of these phenomena as they present themselves to the student of familial corruption and supernatural causation. It asks how divine necessity meshes with mortal agency in certain relevant cases, and whether the former imperils the latter.

Keywords:   Greek tragedy, mortals, decision making, supernatural causation, Septem contra Thebas, fate, mortal freedom

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