Understanding Of Suffering Essay Research Paper Understanding

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Understanding Of Suffering Essay, Research Paper Understanding of Suffering The suffering of man is a very complicated matter that is most likely impossible to understand completely. It is a subject that people have grappled with since the dawn of recorded history. In fact, suffering is evident in every form of art man has created. Suffering is in our paintings, our poetry, our music, our plays, and in anything else that is conceivable. But still, we as a whole still struggle with the idea of suffering. It is my opinion that some individuals may grasp the notion of suffering more than others, but that no one person will ever fully understand suffering in every form. A person may only understand his or her own personal suffering, not suffering as a whole. It is the next step

to then say that ?understanding comes through suffering,? which I also believe to be true. It is impossible to fully know what the suffering of a person is like, unless you have experienced the same thing in his own shoes. Two examples of this are Aeschylus?s play Agamemnon and Elie Wiesel?s account of the Holocaust, Night. Throughout both of the works, suffering is a very prevalent theme. The characters in Night and in Agamemnon undergo both psychological and physical suffering. It is very easy to see that their suffering occurs, and one may even commiserate with the characters, but it is impossible to completely understand the suffering that they go through. One may only go so far as to say that they have gone through something similar, and they know what it must have been

like, or that they can imagine how it must have been for the characters. This, however, is not complete understanding. Only through personal experience can a person fully understand what his or her suffering is. In the Agamemnon, suffering is evident in nearly every character. Even before the action of the play begins, terrible things have already occurred that cause much suffering in the ill-fated House of Atreus. We learn that Agamemnon is challenged by the gods to sacrifice his first-born daughter Iphigeneia so that the army may sail to Troy. He states the following: Heavy indeed my fate if I disobey, but heavy, too, if I must butcher my child, the glory of my house, polluting a father?s hands with streams of a virgin?s blood beside the altar. Which of these two things is

without evil? There is sacred law on their side, that they passionately covet a virgin?s blood as sacrifice to quell the winds. May it turn out well (Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 211-219). This is obviously a great cause for internal struggle and suffering for Agamemnon. Iphigeneia?s death also greatly affects his wife Clytemnestra. She is very bitter towards him, and she believes that he did not have to sacrifice Iphigeneia. While Agamemnon believes he did so out of necessity, Clytemnestra thinks that it was his own free will that murdered Iphigeneia. She cries out to the chorus that ?He sacrificed his own daughter, dearest pain of my womb, to charm the contrariness of Thracian winds? (Agamemnon, 1415-1417). The loss of her daughter has caused her so much pain and sorrow that she

chooses to take revenge upon Agamemnon by murdering him. With three strikes she kills him and spills his blood on the house?s floors (Agamemnon, 1380-1392). This, of course, is only more suffering for Agamemnon, his children, and the people of Argos. A complete understanding of the type of suffering that these characters go through cannot simply be arrived at through the reading. The play only allows the reader to identify the suffering and compare it to your own experiences of pain. This only offers a very narrow understanding of the suffering that the characters actually went through. In the end, you are still left with only a full understanding of your own suffering. It is impossible to be able to place yourself in this type of extreme situation and to determine exactly what