Self-Reparative Action through Literature

Each story, tragedy, and epic contain the main antagonist that has a leadership role or a form of power that ultimately leads to a form of destruction. Oresteia is a three-part book that consists of Greek tragedies. The trilogy begins with Agamemnon, where Agamemnon returns from the Trojan war. Clytemnestra is planning on avenging the death of her daughter. By the end of the play, Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon in his bathtub. In the second play, Women at the Graveside, Orestes returns to Argos after being exiled for years. He plans on avenging his father’s death. He reunites with Electra at Agamemnon’s grave where they both agree to the plan to kill Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. The play concludes with Orestes killing both Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. In the final play, The Eumenides, Orestes flees Argo with Apollo’s help. He heads to Athens and pleads for help from Athena. He then goes to court where it is tied if Orestes should stay alive. Athena ultimately is the last vote that decides that Orestes should not be killed.

Exodus tells a story about a person with power who self-destructs with selfishness and animosity. In Exodus, Pharaoh is the person in the rule of Egypt, but he rules with evil. All his actions are formulated with evil, selfishness, and animosity. Since Pharaoh was a character with no virtue, God sends Moses to free people from his reign. Pharaoh held the Israelites as slaves and ordered all Hebrew children to be killed, Moses’ duty was to free them with the help of God. God sends a series of plagues to Egypt to incentivize Pharaoh to free the Israelites. Plague after plague Pharaoh refuses to release the Israelites, which ultimately leads to his death.

The Epic of Sundiata is a story that gives the audience hope. Seeing Sundiata overcome all the adversity that he encounters so truly inspirational. He encounters numerous adversities from his inability to walk to Soumaoro Kante. Soumaoro Kante is the main antagonist in Sundiata. Throughout the epic, the audience is shown that Soumaoro Kante is nothing but evil. Soumaoro Kante uses his invincibility to perform malicious acts, that ultimately lead to conflict with Sundiata, and possibly Soumaoro Kante’s death. Each story leads to the death of the main antagonist because they abused power. 

In Oresteia, the main antagonist is Clytemnestra who deceives and murders Agamemnon. Clytemnestra and Agamemnon have similar stories, they kill someone beloved to them. Clytemnestra kills her husband and Agamemnon kills his daughter. Shortly after Agamemnon’s death, Oresteia returns to Argos after fleeing for years. He plans to kill his mother, Clytemnestra. Clytemnestra and Agamemnon show no moral remorse when they committed their murders. Both saw their murders as a form of justice. Agamemnon kills his daughter as a human sacrifice and Clytemnestra kills him to avenge her daughter’s death. On the other hand, Orestes shows some time of remorse when he was murdering his mother. In the text, Orestes states, “should I hold back from striking my mother dead” (Aeschylus 82). This shows that Orestes was displaying some type of moral of remorse. Showing morals and remorse allows signals that there is hope for reparation. An increase in guilt and the moral challenge is what offend leads to the implementation of reparative actions. In “Cleansing My Abuse: A reparative Response Model of Perpetration Abusive Supervisor Behavior” states “applied moral cleansing theory to abusive supervision and found that leaders feet emotionally and cognitively immoral and thus perform reparative actions to cleanse themselves” (Liao, Yam, Johnson, Liu, Song, 1052). Although Orestes was not necessarily a person of power, he was a person that was committing a malicious deed out of remorse that can be mitigated by guilt. Furthermore, Clytemnestra was a person of power, as Agamemnon was the King of Mycenae. Clytemnestra shows sorrow and grief for her actions. After she is killed, she appears as a ghost and states “I wander in humiliation, held to blame because, although I have been made to suffer horribly by my own closest kin” (Aeschylus 92). After realizing what she has caused and ultimately realizing that she was creating a fate of destruction, she feels remorseful. This restates that an increase in guilt can self-repair abusive behavior. Orestes experience an increased amount of guilt right before murdering Clytemnestra, while Clytemnestra experienced an increased amount of guilt after her death. If Clytemnestra had shown remorse before her death, I believe that Orestes’ abusive behavior could have been repaired. He was bewailed before committing the deed, but Clytemnestra could have prevented it if she showed genuine remorse. It was difficult for Orestes to murder his mother, but his abusive behavior could have been self-repaired because Clytemnestra was his blood

In Exodus, Pharaoh displays similar behavior. In the beginning, animosity ultimately led to Pharaoh’s death. All his actions were made with ill-intend. He ordered all Hebrew boys to be killed at birth while slaving the Israelites in Egypt. There was no real reason that justified his decision to kill all Hebrew boys. Pharaoh simply felt animosity towards his descendants. After God sends Moses to Egypt where is confronted with Pharaoh. The first plague is unleashed, and Pharaoh quickly fathoms the power of the Lord’s plagues. In response he quickly reacts and asks for Moses and Aaron and states “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord! Enough of God’s thunder and hail!” (Exodus 10). He observed what detrimental effect the plagues could have on just the Israelites, but himself as well. He experiences an increased amount of remorse and moral challenge and begins to take reparative actions to prevent another plague. The article “Cleansing My Abuse: A reparative Response Model of Perpetration Abusive Supervisor Behavior” discusses how supervisors have telling abusive traits. Eventually, they become morally challenged. After repeatedly conducting their supervision with abusive behavior, supervisors begin to feel guilty and morally challenged.

They state, “Within leaders daily, perpetrating abusive supervisor led to an increase in experienced guilt and perceived loss of moral credits…” (Liao, Yam, Johnson, Liu, Song, 1039). Leaders begin to have moral cleansing. They realized that actions are morally challenging and begin to question their actions. After the plague, Pharaoh was willing to take reparative action. Although Pharaoh was an abusive leader, he was willing to self-repair because Egypt was secreted to him. 

On the other hand, in the epic of Sundiata, Sourmaoro Kante is the main antagonist. He is the villainous sorcerer-king of Mali. He has special abilities, unlike any other king. His magical powers made him a force to be reckoned with. In the epic, it states “Soumaoro was not like other men, for the jinn had revealed themselves to him and his power was beyond measure” (Niane, 41). Soumaoro Kante was a powerful king, who abused his power and consistently displayed abusive behavior that cannot be reprehended. He stole his nephew’s wife. Fakoli Koroma, his nephew, states “since you are not ashamed to commit incest by taking my wife, I am freed from all ties with you” (Niane, 42). It was clear that Soumaoro did not care about anyone but himself. His abusive behavior continued to flourish throughout the epic. He keeps a secret chamber that was tapestried with human skins and earthen jar nine heads (Niane, 39). Soumaoro. Throughout the epic of Sundiata, Soumaoro Kante was shown to be the evilest of the evils. He brought nothing but bad intentions and malicious deeds. He did not show any moral challenge. He continued to haze Sundiata about his inabilities, he stole his nephew’s daughter and saved items that a mentally stable person would not save. The concept of moral cleansing with self-reparative action would not work on Soumaoro Kante. Soumaora Kante was a unique type of evil, almost like he was a psychopath. Reparative action would not fix his mental state. Moral cleansing with self-reparative action does not account for mental state.

A self-reparative action is a form of repairing abusive supervisor behavior that uses moral challenges to allow a person of power to redirect their behavior. In Oriesta and Exodus self-reparative action is displayed. Orestes and Pharaoh both show moral challenges. Orestes struggles to kill his own mother because of the blood they share. Alongside Pharaoh, beings to see the self-inflicting damage he was creating and feels morally challenged. In the end, their action creates destruction, self-reparative behavior using moral cleansing was displayed and could have helped prevent destruction. On the other hand, Soumaora Kante showed no remorse or moral challenge. Self-reparative action using moral cleansing would have not been enough to stop the destruction in Sundiata. Having moral challenge and an increase in guilt helps cases where a person is damaging someone or something that is fond to them 

Destruction in Literature

Aeschylus, et al. The Oresteia: The Texts of the Plays, Ancient Backgrounds and Responses, Criticism. Norton, 2018.

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