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|Title:||Fate and Death through a Daimonic Lens|
|Abstract:||This thesis is concerned with the ancient Greek conceptualization of fate and death, as explored through the figure of the daimon in literature from Homer and Hesiod to Plato and Euripides. Filling a gap in scholarship, I elucidate the spectrum of meaning inherent in the word daimon, and how it shifts over time. From the Archaic to the Classical period the word daimon is found as a synonym for theos, “god”, as a vocative address, or in reference to “fate” and the generalized “will of heaven.” At the same time, a particular group of divine personifications, including Thanatos, Moira, Ker, and Erinys are counted as daimones. We also find the term used to designate unnamed but individuated lesser divinities, guardian spirits, and demonic possessors, and even as the divine aspect of the self. In the early Archaic poets these latter categories are only nascent. The individuated daimon becomes the focus of the lyric poets and pre-Socratic philosophers; in the later pre-Socratics the daimon begins to be internalized, moving from possessive spirit to psychic force. Tragedy meanwhile focuses on the daimon as a force of retribution, as curse or afflicting demon. It is Plato who explores and expands upon all of these categories, crystallizing the notion of the internalized daimon, as reconceived in the context of his philosophical eschatology. Chapters 1 and 2 provide surveys of the word daimon diachronically in each of these genres, mapping the expanding continuum of meaning. Chapter 3 explores the personifications of fate, doom, and death, and their place in this daimonic framework.|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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