You Can’t Go Home Again – Bioethical Reflections on War Veterans and Refugees as Survivors; Its Implications for Global Bioethics Education

  • Jan Helge Solbakk
Part of the Advancing Global Bioethics book series (AGBIO, volume 10)


“In war, truth is the first casualty”. Allegedly, it was the ancient Greek playwright, Aeschylus, who first coined this phrase. Aeshylus, the father of this art form, together with his two contemporary colleagues, Sophocles and Euripedes, were also among the first poets to put in verse and dramatize the fate of women and children as victims of this form of man-made disaster. The citizens of the ancient Greek society admired their war-plays and it was to the theatre they went when they wanted to watch moral conflicts displayed in vivo. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that in that time period of human history the theatre was considered the ‘locus classicus’ of ethics education. In this essay it is argued that this ancient art form still has a role to play when it comes to ethics education. Furthermore, it is argued that the moral conflicts staged in the war plays of the ancient Greek playwrights is more relevant than ever, and that teaching about the human upheavels and moral injuries caused by war, unrest and armed conflicts therefore should be included in the curriculum and acknowledged as one of the biggest challenges global bioethics education is faced with today. Three of the tragedies of Sophocles will be made use of: Ajax, Antigone and Oedipus the King, in combination with a contemporary dramatization of the human upheavals and moral injuries affecting women and children in the wake of armed conflicts: the film, Incendies.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway

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