Essay on The Inner Nature Of Friendship

1630 Words Dec 4th, 2016 7 Pages
The Inner Nature of Friendship
Cordelia Achen Over his long seclusion on the abandoned island of Lemnos, some meet Philoctetes and learn his melancholy history. However, no one gives him the aid he needs to escape his solitary existence and return to civilization. Except for Neoptolemus. He becomes friends with Philoctetes, at first to steal the bow of Heracles, but later due to his friendly feelings towards Philoctetes. Philoctetes too, has friendly feelings towards Neoptolemus, which survive even after Neoptolemus has seemingly betrayed him. What it is about Philoctetes and Neoptolemus that allows them to become friends, even though they spend most of the play at cross-purposes? Neoptolemus and Philoctetes become friends because they can both see the true nature of the other and allow the other to act in accordance with that nature. This inspires trust in Philoctetes, and mercy in Neoptolemus, which allows them to sail off in the end to Troy and supreme glory.
Philoctetes’ understanding of Neoptolemus’ nature begins with his knowledge of him through Achilles, but transforms into an understanding of Neoptolemus himself. When asking Neoptolemus to take him home, Philoctetes appeals to Neoptolemus’ parentage and the nobility inherent in his nature. He says in line 474 “But nevertheless suffer: Indeed, it is fitting with your birth” using the word γενναίοισί to tie Neoptolemus back to his father, the honorable Achilles. Philoctetes also tells Neoptolemus that saving him fits…

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