What Will Those Tears Do?

In a dark scene in Euripides’ play Electra, the chorus asks Electra, “What good will they do, these tears, these cries? Will you hurt your enemies with tears?” It’s not exactly the most empathetic or compassionate question, but it does stop one from feeling sorry for themselves. We might not like the situation we’re in—is crying going to fix it?

Seneca has a similar line: Don’t make your troubles worse by bemoaning them. Get off your ass and do something about it.