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  • Posted By: malcom222
  • Date Posted: 07/17/2011
  • Category: History
  • Words: 1504
  • Pages: 7
  • Views: 799
  • Rank: 763

Aeschylus is primarily concerned with the nature of justice

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Aeschylus is primarily concerned with the nature of justice

In the trilogy The Oresteia, the Akhaians evolve from an older, more primitive autocratic form of justice, to a new concept of civil justice devised by Athena. He confronts the contrast between the old and new orders, the lives of the members of the House of Atreus, and the serious moral questions that Orestes’ crime presents.


The case against Orestes is strong. The son admits to striking down his mother, in violation of the sacred tenant of kinship. "But I came back, my years of exile weathered-killed the one who bore me, I won’t deny it, killed her in revenge." (Eumenides lines 476-478) This shows that Orestes was fully aware of the act he was committing, that he willfully committed it, and that he must suffer for it. The bond between mother and child was broken when Orestes murdered Clytaemnestra. Marriage, arguably, is a tenant of Zeus and the Olympians. In the old order of things, family is by blood only. A husband and wife have no blood relation, yet the son is of the same blood as his parents. The Furies right to vengeance cannot be dismissed.


Clytaemnestra is one who upheld the laws of the Furies. Agamemnon’s murder of Iphegenia at Aulis was pure outrage. "Yes he had the heart to sacrifice his daughter, to bless the war…" (Agamemnon lines 222-223) Agamemnon killed his own blood relation in order to sail for Troy. This too, is a terrible crime, seemingly of the same weight as Orestes’ act. Clytaemnestra believed she was justified in avenging her daughter, because her husband violated a sacred tenant of the old gods. "Here is Agamemnon, my husband made a corpse by this right hand-a masterpiece of justice. Done is done." (Agamemnon lines 1429-1431) This shows a clear morality behind Clytaemnestra’s motives. She ...

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