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The Adventure$
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Giorgio Agamben

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037594

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037594.001.0001

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(p.3) 1 Demon
The Adventure

Giorgio Agamben

, Lorenzo Chiesa
The MIT Press

This chapter reflects on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's treatment of four deities introduced in Macrobius's Saturnalia: Daimon, Tyche, Eros, and Ananke (Demon, Chance, Love, and Necessity). According to Macrobius, the four gods attend a human being as it is born: Demon, Chance, Love, and Necessity. To him, Daimon must be honored because we owe him our character and nature; Eros because fecundity and knowledge depend on him; Tyche and Ananke because the art of living also involves a reasonable degree of bowing to what we cannot avoid. The way in which each person relates to these powers defines their ethics. In addition to these, the chapter describes a fifth character—Elpis, or Hope.

Keywords:   Macrobius, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Daimon, Saturnalia, Tyche, Eros, Ananke, Elpis

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