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Orestes the Furies Croesus and Cyrus - What do all these disparate characters have in common The answer is that divine justice decides the course that their lives will take Divine justice plays a large role in both of the works that these characters are from - the Oresteia of Aeschylus and The Histories of Herodotus However the two works differ on what exactly constitutes divine justice and how divine justice operates Aeschylus would argue that divine justice is reactive In other words justice acts after man has committed some terrible act Herodotus would argue that divine justice is proactive striking before the culprit has actually sinned Also Aeschylus and Herodotus disagree about why divine justice affects men Aeschylus argues that man must commit a sin for justice to be meted out In the views of Herodotus however God strikes down those who are too rich and successful It is not necessary for a man to have sinned to be punished in the view of Herodotus Herodotus directly tells the reader his views on divine justice through the character of Solon Solon is one of the great Greek teachers of that epoch Histories Bk 1 Ch 29 He was traveling around the world when he paid a visit to Croesus the King of Lydia Croesus gave Solon a tour of the palace and then asked Solon a question Well my Athenian friend I have heard a great deal about your wisdom and how widely you have traveled in the pursuit of knowledge I cannot resist the desire to ask you a question who is the happiest man you have ever seenHistories Bk 1 Ch 30 Solons response to this question speaks volumes about Herodotuss opinions on divine justice The two examples that he presents of people having true happiness have one thing in common - all of the people in them are dead Why is this significant It is significant because in Solons opinion
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