Literature Study GuidesHippocratic Oath

Hippocratic Oath | Study Guide


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Year Published

c. 400 BCE


Primary Source



At a Glance

  • The Hippocratic Oath is generally attributed to Hippocrates, a doctor who lived during the classical period of ancient Greece.
  • It is likely that the oath was actually written by one of his students or by a group of people.
  • By taking the oath, new physicians pledge respect for the profession and their fellow doctors, dedication to patients, and commitment to medical ethics.
  • Use of the classic oath is widely unknown until closer to the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was administered as a reminder of the fellowship and tradition of physicians.
  • Since the mid-20th century many attempts have been made to revise the oath for modern usage. An international medical ethics statement written after World War II also became popular.
  • In 1964 Louis Lasagna (1923–2003), an American physician and researcher, wrote an updated version of the Hippocratic Oath.
  • Lasagna's iteration, or versions of it, is widely used by medical schools today. However, some criticisms of the oath's application to real-world doctor-patient situations remain.


This study guide for Hippocrates's Hippocratic Oath offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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