Honors Bachelor of Arts

Document Type


Faculty Advisor

Thesis Director: Dr. Shannon Byrne; Thesis Reader: Mr. Jay Arns; Thesis Reader: Dr. Shannon LaFayette Hogue; HAB Course Director: Dr. Thomas Strunk




The meaning of suffering is enigmatic. To grasp at it cosmologically, I examine both Archaic and Classical Greek views of suffering via their primary literature and culture. Homer’s Iliad reveals the transactionality of suffering as it is embedded in the heroic code through an analysis of the Glaucus-Diomedes exchange. An investigation of Achilles’ development portrays both the Homeric system that equates honor and suffering and the unquantifiable suffering that critiques said system. Meanwhile, a study of Aeschylus’ Oresteia exhibits the interrelation of suffering and learning in Zeus’ law. The progression of the trilogy displays an accruement of wisdom by means of the rectification of an inherited misunderstanding: that personal vengeance is Zeus’ justice. I conclude that the desire for wisdom concerning how to live the best life motivated the Hellenic evolution of suffering’s transaction from honor to knowledge.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.



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