The Fragility of Goodness

Martha Nussbaum discusses Euripides’ Hecuba and its implications for ethical life (via The Brooks Blog).

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2 thoughts on “The Fragility of Goodness

  1. Pingback: Martha Nussbaum and Hecuba: The Living Latticework of Ethics « Frames /sing

  2. Thank you for reposting this. It brings to mind for me, among other things, the bottomless mirror of rays from the play, just before ruin comes:

    I, my curls in twisting
    Turbans was rhythming,
    From golden mirrors gazing
    Into the bottomless rays,
    That readied I might fall into bed,
    But up a roar rose in the city. (922-927)

    I do not read the play in just the same way that Nussbaum does, but I do find her point touching and signficant. “Being a human being” can mean becoming more (or less) than “human”. Nussbaum does really grasp the essential risk in being “good” the risk that one can be “destroyed”. But there is something more to “good” I think, other than it being merely risk itself. The openness, and I think that this a primary lesson of Greek Tragedy, is not just an all out chips-on-the-table kind of bet, but also an openness to what you will be transformed into, when and if you lose.

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