2017년 12월 26일 화요일

[발췌: 누스바움] "Aeschylus and practical conflict"


출처: Martha Nussbaum. The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2001. 구글도서.


※ 발췌 (excerpt):

Chapter 2
Aeschylus and practical conflict


Greek tragedy shows good people being ruined because of thing that just happen to them, thing that they do not control. This is certainly said; but it is an ordinary fact of human life, and no one would deny that it happens. Nor does it threaten any of our deeply held beliefs about goodness, since goodness, plainly, can persist unscathed through a change in external fortunes. Tragedy also, however, shows something more deeply disturbing: it shows good people doing bad things, things otherwise repugnant to their ethical character and commitments, because of circumstances whose origin does not lie with them. Some such cases are mitigated by the presence of direct physical constraint or excusable ignorance. In those cases we may feel satisfied that the agents has not actually ^acted^ badly--either because he or she has not ^acted^ at all, or because (as in the case of Oedipus) the thing he intentionally ^did^ was not the same as the bad thing that he inadvertently brought about. But the tragedies also shows us, and dwell upon, another more intractable sort of case--one which has come to be called, as a result, the situation of 'tragic conflict'. In such a case we see a wrong action committed without any direct physical compulsion and in full knowledge of its nature, by a person whose ethical character or commitments would otherwise dispose him to reject the act. The constraints come from the presence of circumstances that prevent the adequate fulfillment of two valid ethical claims. Tragedy tends, on the whole, to take such situations very seriously. It treats them as real cases of wrong-doing that are of relevance for an assessment of the agent's ethical life. Tragedy also seems to think it valuable to dwell upon these situations, exploring them in many ways, asking repeatedly what personal goodness, in such alarming complication, is.

For this attitude Greek tragedy, and especially Aeschylean tragegy, has been repeatedly assailed as morally primitive. ( ... ... )


I

We are considering situations, then, in which a person must choose to do (have) either one thing or another. Because of the way the world has arranged things, he or she cannot do (have) both. (We suspend, termporarily, the question whether by better planning he might have avoided the dilemma altogether. This question will be the subject of our next chapter.) ( ... ... )


III

At the beginning of Aeschylus's ^Agamemnon^, there is a strange and ominous portent. The king of birds appear to the kings of the ships. Two eagles,one black, one white-tailed, in full view of the army, devour a pregnant hare with all her unborn young. It is difficult not to connect this omen with the coming slaughter, by this army, of innocent citizens at Troy. It is also difficult for an audience familiar with this story not to connect it with the imminent slaughter of the helpless girl Iphigenia, which will prove necessary for the departure of the expedition. But the omen receives from the prophet Calchas an oddly trivial interpretation. He 'knows the warlike devourers of the hare for the conducting chiefs'; and yet he predicts only that the army, in laying siege to Troy, will slaughter many herd of cattle before its walls. ( ... ... )

Agamemnon is told by the prophet that if he does not offer up his daughter as a sacrifice, the entire expedition will remain becalmed. Already men are starving, and winds blowing from the Strymon, 'were wearing and wasting away the flower of the Argives'. If Agamemnon does not fulfil Artemis's conditin, everyone, including Iphigenia, will die. He will also be abandoning the expedition and, therefore, violating the command of Zeus. He will be a ^deserter^. It may, furthermore, depending upon our understanding of Artemis's requirements, be an act of disobedience against her. To perform the sacrifice will be, however, to perform a horrible and guilty act. We can see that one choice, the choice to sacrifice Iphigenia, seems clearly preferable, both because of consequences and because of the impiety involved in the other choice. ( ... ... )

Agamemnon is allowed to choose: that is to day, he knows what he is doing; he is neither ignorant of the situation nor physically compelled; nothing forces him to choose one course rather than the other. ( ... ... ) The special agony of this situation is that none of the possibilities is even harmless.

Agamemnon's first response is anger and grief: 'The Atreidae beat the ground with their staffs, and could not keep back their tears'. He then describes his predicament, apparently with full recognition of both competing claims. He acknowledges that there is wrong done whichever way he chooses:

A heavy doom is disobedience, but heavy, too, if I shall rend my own child, the adornment of my house, polluting a father's hands with streams of slaughtered maiden's blood close by the altar. Which of these is without evils? How should I become a deserter, failing in my duty to the alliance?

Agamemnon's statement of the alternatives shows us his sense that the ^better^ choice in the situation is the sacrifice: the future indicative in 'if I shall rend my own child' is not parallel to the weak deliberative subjuctive of 'How should I become a deserter?' But he indicates, too, that both choices involve evil.

( ... ... )


CF. The Costs of Tragedy: Some Moral Limits of Cost-Benefit Analysis (Martha Nussbaum, The Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, June 2000

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