This was the thirteenth time Aeschylus had been awarded the highest honors in a career of forty-one years as a tragedian. No one had done as much to establish the drama as a soaring art form capable of exploring the most compelling problems of human existence. And this dramatic trilogy—the only one in Greek drama to survive intact—was a fitting climax to his life.
Is Aeschylus a misogynist? Feel free to bring in the first two plays of the trilogy. Misogyny, if defined as a tendency to feel that women are responsible for most of the troubles of the world, was common in ancient Greece, but Aeschylus was actually, if anything, trying to counter that misogyny, to promote reconciliation between the sexes.
That is not to say that he felt that there should be complete equality between the sexes. He lived in a world in Suffering in the oresteia essay it was assumed that the man should be the dominant partner in marriage and that men should do the governing, and he did not challenge those assumptions.
When Clytemnestra is the dominant partner and effectively rules the kingdom, things are clearly out of joint, simply for that reason. He actually shows how much the Chorus of elders in the Agamemnon undervalue Clytemnestra, simply because she is a woman.
He gives full weight to what she endured when her daughter was sacrificed. In Homer, Clytemnestra is described as the worst of women, and there is no hint of any problem with her death.
Here, only the intervention of the goddess who is both male and female can bring peace to the rage and guilt that the Furies embody. And the triumphal procession that leads these awesome female powers down to the caverns where they will be held in honor forever is made up largely of girls and women of all ages.
Can the theme of the replacement of blood-for-blood vengeance with courts of law be seen as relevant to a modern audience? In the first place, the theme is relevant in that it may help modern American readers see their own legal system with new eyes.
We tend to see only its faults, but this play can make us realize how much suffering would be caused by its absence. And in fact, we do see that suffering wherever we see Suffering in the oresteia essay vendetta still in action, whether in the Mafia or in gang warfare.
Perhaps most relevant, though, is a meaning Aeschylus had no conception of. He completely accepts the inevitability of war and even speaks of its glory; the most he hopes for is the avoidance of civil war. He hopes for love between the citizens of a city, but he also hopes they will share in hatred of external enemies.
Yet he is aware of the danger that, in any war, anger and revenge will so take over that the victors will go beyond all limits and bring disaster on themselves.
So strong is that aspect of the play that it can even be played as an antiwar play.
We may find ourselves dreaming, as we read The Eumenides, of a time when people will look back on the use of war to bring about justice with the same horror that Aeschylus clearly wants us to feel at the use of personal revenge to bring justice.
Certainly only a play like this could depict the replacement of war by the rule of law. It would have to bring huge forces on stage—no actions by individual human beings could adequately embody the depth of the transformation needed. A director staging The Oresteia today might want to find a way to leave the audience with this question: How would you have Orestes played?
Orestes is no longer running away from the Furies—indeed, they sleep around him, according to the description given by the Pythia in the opening speech of the play. The Pythia describes him as sitting on the stone that was thought in ancient times to mark the center of the Earth, the navel stone, and his drawn sword and his hands are covered with blood.
If the production is done without masks, as Greek drama generally is these days, it should be obvious that Orestes has aged since the previous play, simply because of the suffering he has been through. And though he is no longer obviously driven to insanity by the Furies, there should certainly be signs of the great strain he is under.
After Apollo assures him that he will find means to release him, Orestes speaks for the only time in this part of the play, telling Apollo not to be neglectful of him, since certainly the god is strong enough to help.
These words should be spoken with some fear. The Furies may be asleep now, but Apollo has just told him that they will continue to pursue him as he flies them over land and sea, until he finally comes to Athens.
When he appears again, that long flight is over, and his arms are wrapped around the image of Athena.
Quietly holding on to Athena, he should be like the eye of the storm as the Furies dance wildly about him, trying to bind him with their spells and lead him to destruction. Again when he speaks to Athena, telling her the story, he should speak calmly, especially in his willingness to have her decide the case.
A couple of lines should reflect his uncertainty about the outcome, and then there should be an outburst of joy. The sympathy that his suffering has generated may make us ready to see this as the happy ending—all the more striking when those who have persecuted him must be transformed before the play can end in joy.
Discuss the effect Aeschylus may have hoped to have on the political situation in Athens. You may include the first two plays of the trilogy.
Athens had been through a time of great upheaval in the years before Aeschylus produced his Oresteia, and there had even been some bloodshed. Those who wanted major change in the direction of democracy had been successful, but it must have seemed unclear that the city could continue to grow and change peacefully.
It seems likely that Aeschylus intended to deliver a message of hope and reconciliation. The first step, taken in the first two plays, was to bring alive for his audience, which would have included a high percentage of the people of Athens, the full horror of a world in which justice was pursued through vengeance.
If one of the opposing parties resorted to violence and then the other responded in kind, he must have wanted his audience to feel, that would represent a return to the nightmare of a world in which human beings became Furies in their pursuit of justice through revenge; he must have wanted Athens to reject that path.Essay on The Powerful Clytemnestra in Aeschylus' Oresteia - The Powerful Clytemnestra in Aeschylus' Oresteia What Price Glory.
was the title of a Maxwell Anderson play about World War I. View Essay - TheOresteiaPaper from HIST at Loyola University Chicago. Jennifer Gonzalez The Oresteia Paper 1 Hist A Woman's Role Throughout this tragic Greek poem, The Oresteia.
This essay analyzes these questions by bringing attention to the last scene of The Eumenides, the last part of The Oresteia trilogy. As emphasized by Aeschylus, The Eumenides ends with the transformation of the Furies into the Eumenides, the “kindly hearts,” and their inclusion in the city of Athens.
Through an examination of Aeschylus' Oresteia, this essay argues for the critical importance of intergenerational justice to democratic theory. What is the place of The Oresteia in the history of drama?
Discuss Aristotle's definitions of tragedy and the tragic hero and their application to the three plays of The Oresteia. "The tragedy of life is what makes it worthwhile [A]ny life which merits living lies in the effort to realize some dream, and the higher that dream is the harder it is to realize The only success is in failure.