The issue will be stated in the form of a quotation on a topic related to our studies.

Western civilization

The term paper is a team assignment. You will partner with someone in the class to address two sides of an issue—a “pro” and “con” or “for” and “against” structure. The issue will be stated in the form of a quotation on a topic related to our studies. Your term paper will draw on the material covered throughout the semester to illustrate the “pro” and “con” perspectives. Your paper should be written in college-level English, display a strong awareness of the needs of your audience, offer cogent arguments for your position, and possess all the structural features of a well-written essay, including logical sequencing and grouping of ideas.

****** write about the cons and it should be about 1200 words. the quote is

“sheer greed has been the driving force of civilization from its first day until now”


Every day people struggle to overcome their wants and greed for more. A new car or the highest paying job, everything in human nature seems to point to the inner greed that can be found within. Friedrich Engels said, “[s]heer greed has been the driving force of civilization from its first day until now.” The notion that the innate greed in human civilizations is what caused the creation of every society today is not a light one. Finding positive support for such a claim is difficult, but examples can be found. Scholars have found greed at the center of works such as Virgil’s Aeneid, Dante’s Inferno, and Homer’s Iliad.

When arguing the propensity for humanity to be greedy, the image of one’s lineage often comes to mind. Examples of monarchies can be even found in today’s British monarchy, which only became a constitutional monarchy recently. In Virgil’s Aeneid, the kings of Laureates show the lineage of kings that ruled the kingdom. The lineages of the kingdom change the outlook of rulers and frame it in a greedy fashion when “Sterces, a good farmer who discovered fertilization in agriculture and so became a god” is mentioned (Casali). The fact that the lineage of Latinus traces back to Sterces, who is framed as a god shows the greed of the civilization at its root when the reason behind Sterces’ godhood is for his agricultural advancements. The greed of the monarchy traces itself to new ways that their society can find itself as being successful shows that Engels’ ideology of greed being the driving force behind civilization is described perfectly. The account of kings of Latium being praised for their ability and made kings because of it shows that the greedy nature of humans is indeed a strong force behind their advancement. This lineage of kings continues to be of interest due to the contradictory nature of the recorded history of the lineage. The “genealogy of the kings of the Laureates given by…Aen is at odd with the one…by the description of the statues of Picus’ palace [and again] by Evander’s account,” showing that there is something to be gained by being written in as a part of history (Casali). The differences in accounts and the actual list of monarchs to rule this one society show that there is an air of greed about being included in these lists. The glory associated with being considered a strong ruler serves as a direct derived behavior from the greed that all human beings have at their heart. Kings of Latinum caused a change in the way that their society grew, and the behavior displayed in the Aeneid can be used to extrapolate and infer what the modern human being wants. Greed is a natural thing, and the growth of human civilizations has often stemmed from that driving force of primal need to be better than any competitors.

Often when considering themes of greed, the word is associated with a negative point of view, looking down upon those who are greedy and assuming the worst of them. In Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, Virgil describes the different circles of hell and how the sinners in these circles are punished. Samuel A. Stoner describes the inconsistencies that can be found in the descriptions of the various levels of hell, finding that many of the circles include incomplete accounts for the sins being punished in those circles, and sometimes even completely ignoring certain circles (Stoner). The circle including avarice is described, referring to the greed that is punished when human nature reaches hell. The fact that humanity’s innate greed is punishable shows that the impossible growth of society exists based on the need for humanity to thrive. Without this greed, humans could not find themselves thriving the way that they are today. The lack of description for certain circles is in direct opposition to the inclusion of the “inquir[y] about the sinners punished in the second, third, fourth, and fifth circles” which includes the circle with greed or avarice in it (Stoner). The innate nature of humans is often argued to be quite negative, and the seeds of greedy growth germinate to produce large societies of impressive scale. Without the level of avarice found in humanity that is so punishable, there could be no large societies growing with seemingly no bound.

When Dante steps into the circles of hell with his hero Virgil, the nature of his character seems to be unknown. The poet Dante Aleghiri is writing himself in with major figures of literature, and finds himself pushing into one of the darkest places possible. After experiencing “the prospect of imminent death” as a young soldier in the Battle of Campaldino, Dante seems to be drawn to discussing the terrors that one can be faced with (Whalen). Dante the poet has written himself in a terrible situation, having to deal with the evils that people have done on every level as he descends further into hell. As Dante writes, he continuously puts more and more figures of legendary status into his story. Dante finds himself near Satan, Judas, Brutus, and Cassius, all people of extreme popularity. Making his story stand with household names like these and Virgil, the level of need to stand among legends like these shows up again. Dante Aleghiri’s need to be important helps support Freidrich Engels’ notion that the greed of humanity is what drives innovation and individual success. Dante is displaying the strong belief that he belongs with the other great poets and helps drive the individualistic ideas that greed for being the best outclasses the need to avoid death. He is literally making himself go through the depths of hell in order to prove that he is that important.

Greed continues to rear its ugly head in Homer’s Iliad once again. Passakos and De Raad speak about the “psycho-lexical approach” to identifying important psychological traits and how the frequency with which they are mentioned help determine the importance and validity of that trait within a societal construct (Passakos and De Raad). Finding many traits to be repeated throughout the work of Homer brings to the forefront of the literary work the reasons for the societies of Troy, the founding of Rome, and the meaning behind the gods that are being spoken and written about into view. The adjectives God-like, revered, and exquisite continue to show up throughout the epic poem (Passakos and De Raad). Framing these within the context of the ancient societies of the Mediterranean help uncover the truth about human nature that is shown throughout the Iliad: that it is a society that values success as a marker for thriving in their society. This is backed up by the inclusion of other common terms like “impetuous, quick-footed, and virtuous” and their inclusion before the proper names of characters (Passakos and De Raad). The need for the Trojans, Achaeans, and Romans to include descriptions of the merits of strong figures in the past and present show that the greed for being better than others continues to be a founding principle when considering the social construction of an important society and the forces that continue to drive it into the future. When Achilles “swears an oath on Agamemnon’s scepter” and recounts how it was created, and then breaks that oath shows a large divide between the two of them as their trust is gouged out (Stein). The use of something with such a significant symbol within their culture to display this contains a magnitude that is often lost on readers, but is conveyed very deeply. This deep gorge between Agamemnon and Achilles brings forth greed from both Achilles and Agamemnon to solidify themselves as the most important leaders among their groups. The struggle between them shows that their greed will cause them to try to win in a contest of their valor as leaders. Done in dissimilar ways, their differences continue to pile up, but the large similarity between them continues to grow: that they both want nothing more than to best the other one. This constant struggle helps personify the need for humanity’s greed to grow and bring their societies forward with it.

By and large, Freidrich Engels’ recount of the greed that drives all human society forward is both supported and refuted throughout literature. Finding the common courtesy of human beings to be so fulfilling, it is easy to find that this notion is not supported. Yet, in all of literature, the support of Engels’ idea is far larger than those that refute it. Works like the Aeneid, Dante’s Inferno, and Homer’s Iliad, among others, continue to this day to prove that humanity’s constant growth has a large contribution from the greed that fuels human desire to grow and be better.

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The issue will be stated in the form of a quotation on a topic related to our studies.


1225 words

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