Hercules And The Apple Of Athena

One of the fables of Aesop concerns Hercules and Athena.  One day, Hercules was proceeding along a pathway in the mountains when he spotted an apple lying on the ground.  Irritated at its presence, he decided to smash it with his club; and when he tried to do so, the apple doubled in size.  Shocked, he swung his club at it again, this time determined to crush it completely.

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Hercules On Oeta: Immortality Through Virtue

As I have gotten older I find that reading plays brings more enjoyment than it did in earlier years.  Tragedies especially:  the unformed mind has not yet been sufficiently battered by the winds and waves of fortune against the rocks, and is equipped with a merciful immunity to the pathos of existence.  And yet, as the years roll on, beards and barnacles begin to replace the smooth, supple surfaces of youth; scars and aches accumulate; and the omnipresence of tragedy dawns on the maturing mind with a startling rapidity.  The mind then calls for a tonic:  it requires the writer to make sense of all this chaos, all this pain, and all this suffering.  The struggle must be dignified with a sense of universal justice, and an ethic of enduring goodness.  So the tragedian steps forward, and with his stylus attempts to perform this task.

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