The Odyssey

Socrates: Piety and Its Flaws College

Piety was an important concept in ancient Greek civilization, as it shaped the culture and actions of Greek citizens. What exactly piety means has varied over time, and the definition differs throughout Greek literature. Characters such as Odysseus from The Odyssey and Orestes from The Oresteia reflect a more traditional view of piety, while Socrates in Plato's Five Dialogues views piety differently as he questions and challenges previous notions of what is pious/impious. Due to his actions it appears that Socrates rejects traditional notions of piety, although he is still a pious man who has different views of piety than previous Greek figures such as Odysseus and Orestes.

Based on the writings of Homer and Aeschylus, traditional Greek piety is defined as following the will of the gods without question, and one must honor the gods in order to have good fortune. Odysseus exhibits this belief in piety as he and his crew repeatedly make sacrifices and pray to the gods in order to have a safe journey home. Most of the troubles Odysseus experiences is due to him displeasing the gods; Odysseus's journey is prolonged when he angers Poseidon by blinding the cyclops, and Apollo punishes the crew for eating his sacred cattle.

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 2148 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10973 literature essays, 2745 sample college application essays, 842 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in