themes in the oresteia

Justice and Judgment Just like in Agamemnon, Part 1 of the Oresteia, the themes of justice and revenge are very closely intertwined. Copyright © 1999 - 2020 GradeSaver LLC. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. Finally, in The Eumenides, the title characters are desperate to take revenge on Orestes for having committed the ultimate sin of matricide. The play’s gradual build towards Clytemnestra’s violent revenge on her husband Agamemnon and the upheaval…, The historical context and political climate in Agamemnon revolves around the Trojan War, which comes to an end in the first moments of the play. The Chorus not only provides us with key historical information about the war, but also offers important emotional perspective that guides the audience’s understanding of the war’s personal effects…, Ancient Greek society’s expectations of men and women and the significance of these roles come to the forefront in Agamemnon’s central characters. In this society men were expected to be strong, decisive, and honorable, while women were thought to be passive, and were expected to be subservient and silent. It's important to note that in all this, the attitude of the play towards both the act and the concept of revenge is ultimately ambivalent. Taught By. Our, LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in. An editor While these themes are exemplified by the statements and actions of the characters, Aeschylus uses animal imagery and metaphor to set the mood and tone of the story, and to build more complete pictures of the characters. Throughout “The Oresteia”, Aeschylus uses a lot of naturalistic metaphors and symbols, such as solar and lunar cycles, night and day, storms, winds, fire, etc, to represent the vacillating nature of human reality (good and evil, birth and death, sorrow and happiness, etc). Responsibility and accountability are central questions of the play. Aeshylus’ Oresteia, the great trilogy divided into three parts: the Agamemnon, the Libation-Bearers, and the Eumenides. Oresteia study guide contains a biography of Aeschylus, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. In the times of Aeschylus, the Greeks had defeated the Persians and this should've been seen as an act of triumph over the barbarian that existed on both sides, rather than the Good vs. Associate Professor. If her family is cursed to murder each other, can Clytaemnestra do anything but kill her husband? Revenge is the backbone of The Oresteia, and it drives most of the action of Agamemnon. Are the gods just? There are three main women focused on in the Agamemnon: Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon; Iphigenia, daughter of Agamemnon; and Cassandra, Princess of Troy and mistress of Agamemnon. This is perhaps the most universal of the themes we have discussed, and its prominence in the Agamemnon may help to explain why this is the most performed play of the trilogy. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. The characters are not "bad," but are rather unfortunate to have fallen hostage to misfortune. Aeschylus therefore shows the complex nature of inheritance wherein while Orestes cannot choose his birthright or the sense of duty that comes with it, he does choose the way he acts on this sense of duty. Cassandra's last words before she goes to her death sum up this theme … Aeschylus is primarily concerned with the nature of justice. Clytamnestra had sent him away to eliminate the potential threat of his resistance. Agamemnon is the first play in The Oresteia, Aeschylus’ trilogy of tragedies which portray a set of revenges, each leading to the next in a vicious cycle, in the House of Atreus (the family and descendants of Atreus, Agamemnon’s father). Agamemnon is the first of a trilogy, the Oresteia, the other two parts of which are The Libation-Bearers and The Eumenides. One woman also not seen within the play, … Even though Oresteia is cosmic in scope and explores numerous topics, the two major themes of the trilogy – as suggested by Ian Christopher Storey and Arlene Allan – are the shifting notion of justice and the gender conflict. There weren’t Tonys back then, but Aeschylus did win first prize for “The Oresteia” at the Dionysia dramatic competition in 458 B.C. The ancient law of the Furies mandates that blood must be paid for with blood in an unending cycle of doom. You can help us out by revising, improving and updating LitCharts Teacher Editions. Revenge is the backbone of The Oresteia, and it drives most of the action of Agamemnon. and the stroke … The Erinyes represent the ancient, primitive laws which demand blood vengeance, while Apollo, and particularly Athena, represent the new order of reason and a more forgiving form of religion. "My students can't get enough of your charts and their results have gone through the roof." Family obligation recurs as a theme throughout the Oresteia. In its opening lines, the chorus describes how "[t]he blood th… The Chorus often expresses the idea that ultimately the gods have total control over the fates of the mortals who populate the story. this section. Evil theme. Perhaps this is a way of conveying the hard truth of life and showing how unfair life really is. THEMES IN THE ORESTEIA 1. The Oresteia – An Introduction The Oresteia is a cycle of three plays, written by the playwright Aeschylus, about Orestes, the son of Agamemnon. Structure of Paper. The Watchman, the Chorus, and the Herald laud Agamemnon for fulfilling the duties expected of a man and for being a solid and…, Throughout the play, very little happens that hasn’t already been prophesized or predetermined. Not affiliated with Harvard College. In fact, you could say that the entire point of the trilogy is to tease out the subtle distinction between them. will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback. The legacy of the House of Atreus continues to affect generations of the house who are caught in a vicious cycle of blood crimes. In the works of Aeschylus, we see a sense of moral ambiguity, and the right is not completely distinct from the wrong. The first major prophecy occurs before the play even begins, when Agamemnon is advised to sacrifice his daughter in order to get the advantage in the Trojan War. The only extant example of an ancient Greek theater trilogy, the Oresteia won first prize at … These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Oresteia by Aeschylus. Each character in the House of Atreus wants to protect the honor of a family member, even if they kill another family member to achieve it. The Oresteia tells the story of the house of Atreus. The essay is concerned with justice in the Oresteia and the way the Oresteia contributes to the justice it celebrates. The story is made with there's a spareness in terms of the plot. In watching the story unfold, there are a lot of themes we can tie into. Agamemnon opens the trilogy and is the longest of the plays. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts. Sometimes, these would be followed by a fourth play, called a satyr play, which would provide a goofy contrast. The trilogy--the only such work to survive from Ancient Greece--is considered by many critics to be the greatest Athenian tragedy ever written, because of its poetry and the strength of its characters. Try the Course for Free. In the times of Aeschylus, the Greeks had defeated the Persians and this should've been seen as an act of triumph over the barbarian that existed on both sides, rather than the Good vs. Ancient Greeks, like many cultures, valued the family unit—called the oikos, or household and lineage. Agamemnon is the first play in The Oresteia, Aeschylus’ trilogy of tragedies which portray a set of revenges, each leading to the next in a vicious cycle, in the House of Atreus (the family and descendants of Atreus, Agamemnon ’s father). From the creators of SparkNotes, something better. The Oresteia is a collection of three plays that explores the last two murders of the Atreides Curse. ... 9 The question of taking sides and voting become important themes … There's a spareness in terms of the set decoration and the presentation in … The Oresteia (Ancient Greek: Ὀρέστεια) is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus concerning the end of the curse on the House of Atreus.The name derives from the character Orestes, who sets out to avenge his father's murder.. Revenge is the backbone of The Oresteia, and it drives most of the action of Agamemnon. Teachers and parents! The first play, Agamemnon, portrays the victorious return of that king from the Trojan War and his murder by his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus. All Greek tragedies were written in trilogies, but this is the only example of a trilogy that still exists. While he never takes a step back, he also doesn't delight in what he has to do. Transcript. In this paper, I will examine how the themes of justice and vengeance are treated in the Oresteia. The originality of the stories is quite exemplary because Greek poets do not simply versify a given story; all rethink it with their own changes and additions, and in this sense they are themselves changing the … We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own. Vengeance is just, they say, and it has been the law of the house for generations. “Oh, the torment bred in the race, the grinding scream of death. The Oresteia (Ancient Greek: Ὀρέστεια) is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus in the 5th century BC, concerning the murder of Agamemnon by Clytemnestra, the murder of Clytemnestra by Orestes, the trial of Orestes, the end of the curse on the House of Atreus and the pacification of the Erinyes.The … (According to some sources, Sophocles came in second.) This might even imply the greater idea of futility of war and bloodshed as symbolized by the House of Atticus. B. Atreus, an ancient king and ancestor of King Agamemnon, is cursed by the gods for feeding his brother's children to him. The theme of justice and vengeance are important because the play reflects a movement from a time of savagery and revenge and a movement towards civilization and justice. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.”. -Graham S. “Would not have made it through AP Literature without the printable PDFs. It begins by examining the place of tragedy in Athenian politics as a preface to an analysis of the trilogy's understanding of justice. The themes of justice in Aeschylus’s play Agamemnon. Orestes is destined to retaliate for his father's murder. These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. The word justice is derived from the word just meaning acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright. Singh, arushi. Structure of Paper In this paper, I will examine how the themes of justice and vengeance are treated in the Oresteia. They're like having in-class notes for every discussion!”, “This is absolutely THE best teacher resource I have ever purchased. There is a clear theme of the clash between the old order and the new and the inevitable fall of the old order and the rise of the new. As they move from darkness to light, from rage to self-governance, from primitive ritual to civilized institution, their spirit of struggle and regeneration becomes an everlasting song of celebration. Law of the house of Atreus continues to affect generations of the is. Results have gone through the roof. emphasized throughout the Oresteia tells the of! The way the Oresteia acts as a preface to an analysis of Oresteia by Aeschylus best. 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