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Pericles' Funeral Oration Essay

748 words - 3 pages

Running head: Pericles' Funeral Oration[Type text] [Type text] [Type text]4Pericles' Funeral OrationPericles' Funeral OrationShaterika BrownExcelsior CollegePericles' Funeral OrationDuring the Peloponnesian War, the Athenian people would basically give a big funeral to all of the fallen soldiers throughout the year. Pericles gave this speech to the people of Athens who were in mourning over the many deaths. Although most eulogies are meant to be sorrowful with sympathy for those who have lost a loved one, this particular speech was used to uplift the people, and to prove that their loved ones did not die in vain. His speech supported patriotism and commended the fallen for their great sacrifice. The purpose was to gain the trust of the people and to give them faith in their military efforts while praising the greatness of a democracy.The beginning of the speech thanks their ancestors for their ability to fight for all that they have in that present ...view middle of the document...

e. women, slaves, and foreigners, equal.Pericles then goes on to admire the skill and power of the Athenian navy and army. Even though Athens allows foreigners to learn and observe their military tactics and everyday lives, they "…are just as ready to encounter every legitimate danger…" (Pericles, c.460/455-c.399 B.C.E.). He discusses other armies and how they need support to fight against the Athenian army, while still coming up short. In short, he essentially states that their military is the best in Greece and very hard to contend with. The characters of the Athenian people and the fallen soldiers is what Pericles spends the most time on. He speaks on their fortune and how they are very generous to others. I think that this may have been to further gain support from the group to whom he was speaking. He began with, "…we cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy…" (Pericles, c.460/455-c.399 B.C.E.). That statement alone lets the people know how proud he is of their ability to be selfless while continuing to develop their empire. The fallen soldiers are honored next. He speaks very highly of them and how even though they have so much to look forward to at home, such as freedom and wealth, they did not let that get in the way of fighting for their country.In the concluding paragraphs, Pericles does not offer his condolences or mourn the fallen soldiers. Instead he offers comfort in that the men standing there that day were not the ones dead. He also applauds the fallen for a "…death so glorious…" since they sacrificed so much for their city and people (Pericles, c.460/455-c.399 B.C.E.). He honors them for dying as heroes.I think that this was a great speech meant to uplift the mourners while still honoring the fallen for all of their sacrifices. I have learned that the Athenians were very proud of their accomplishments and how different they were compared to other cities during that time. The democratic form of government that they practiced allowed them to experience many other pleasures. Being able to experience these other things enabled them to become more proud to fight for their freedoms like our society is today in America.

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