Justice In The Oresteia

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As the Persian wars conclude the rise of the city-state of Athens begins, and ultimately sparks the beginning of democracy. In the play, The Oresteia, Aeschylus, the author, is essentially concerned with the aspect of justice. Throughout the complete trilogy, the greeks advance from a traditional and more primitive form of justice, to a new concept of cordial justice formulated by Athena, the goddess of reason. For the House of Atreus, this justice was no longer a personal responsibility to be executed according to the rule of family vendetta, blood for blood. It soon became a state responsibility, which was represented in the law that the state, must represent the community as a whole. While this new form of justice was highly viewed upon,…show more content…
One issue that is exceedingly prominent in both the House of Atreus and the remaining city-state is the lack of justice in their emerging democracy. This begins when Agamemnon leaves for war in Troy, and in order to have a smooth trip, Agamemnon has to decide whether or not to sacrifice his young daughter, Iphigenia, to Artemis, the goddess of chastity. He states, “If my daughter dies-the winds change, Artemis is happy. Our Allied armies revive, as at word the sail fills with breath. And I have done no more than sacrifice myself- myself” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hughes, 1999, 15). Ultimately, Agamemnon ends up killing his daughter without the opinion of his wife, Clytemnestra. This injustice makes Clytemnestra think very differently of her once beloved husband. In addition to the issues occurring within the House of Atreus, the outside citizens are not being treated deservedly. Although the democracy is emerging, the only group of people eligible to vote are adult, un-enslaved men, therefore women, children, and slaves are not receiving the justice they rightfully…show more content…
She had become so bitter after the murder of her daughter and resentment had been growing towards Agamemnon ever since. When Agamemnon returns from Clytemnestra ties him tightly with an embroidered purple rob and proceeds to chop him up with an axe. After Agamemnon is brutally murdered, Clytemnestra states, “You think I’m some irresponsible woman? You are making a mistake. My heart and my brain are like this blade, bronze, and forged with purpose. Here’s my husband Agamemnon, dead as the floor that floor he cannot feel… And here is the hand of justice contracted to kill him. And it killed him” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hughes, 1999, 70). Clytemnestra is satisfied with her own actions. In the second play, Choephori, when Agamemnon’s son Orestes learns his father has been killed, he seeks revenge on the murderer (another problem within the House of Atreus that must be resolved) , his own mother. Orestes ultimately ends up murdering his mother by driving a sword through her. After Orestes completes the violent action, he states, “I praise my father, after too long a silence. And since I never saw his deca body I lament over what killed him- this loathsome coil of meshes. What my mother did is my torment. Now her punishment is my torment. And my triumph has made what is left of my life. A torment” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hughes, 1999,

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