Aeschylus The Oresteia

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The Oresteia is a reactionary text to the Iliad, with all of the traditional values presented in the Iliad reversed, allowing Aeschylus to critique former Greek life and celebrate the modern civilization he would have viewed as Athens. Aeschylus’ play would have been seen by the male citizens of Athens. In other words, Aeschylus’ play would have been seen by those with the most power and influence in Athens. One of the most notable Athenian traits was their hubristic view of their culture. They considered themselves culturally superior to any other culture. In writing The Oresteia, Aeschylus validates this belief. One of the most prominent themes within The Oresteia is the destruction of the household. The Greek household, Oikos, was one of the foundations of Greek society. In one sense, the entire cause of the Trojan war was the protection of the household. After Paris stole Helen, he brought about the ruin of Menelaus’ household,…show more content…
Two of the most powerful women considered in these texts are Helen and Clytemnestra. However, Helen is made important through the actions of the men around her. Clytemnestra makes herself important through the violent murder of her husband. As sister, Helen and Clytemnestra serve as foils to each other. While it is claimed that Helen is the face that launched a thousand ships, when her role in the Iliad is more closely examined it is actually shown to be quite passive. Cassandra can be very clear; it is just that the men surrounding her hear her words without giving them any weight, thereby voiding them of any meaning. “I never said it was a man!” (Quote in play, find it) However, despite all of these chracters being women, they are usually referred to in masculine terms and descriptors. Through this role reversal Aeschylus is able to take advantage of Athen’s cultural insecurity regarding typical gender roles. By doing this Aeschylus makes the point
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