Sophocles&#8217; <span class="hi-italic">Philoctetes</span>: Causes of and Remedies for Dehumanization in a Leadership Role

Sophocles’ Philoctetes: Causes of and Remedies for Dehumanization in a Leadership Role

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes
Abstract

Sophocles’ Philoctetes, performed on the Athenian tragic stage in 409 BCE, provides the opportunity to explore the contemporary construct of dehumanization in a leadership context. Readers of this case study will familiarize themselves with common ways in which those in a leadership role may dehumanize others, and will also develop ways to prevent this from happening in the future. The particular causes for someone to be dehumanized are explored, and include situations in which someone is regarded as a member of an out-group, someone has been injured, someone is regarded as disgusting, and someone is under the power or mercy of another person. Students develop ways to overcome this dehumanization by coming to regard such a person as fully human in terms of their relationships to others, their innate talents and ingenuity, their range of emotions, and their use of language.

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