Ch. Athena, what is this home thou offerest me?
Ath. One from all sorrow free. Accept it now.
Ch. Say I accept: what privilege shall be mine?
Ath. That without thee no household shall have increase.
Ch. Canst thou endow me with such power as that? (Line 156, THE EUMENIDES)
Justice in the Oresteia
Justice, in ancient Greece, was very straightforward. There were anumber of rules that every person in that society had to abide by, andin case there were any questions regarding the rules, one would simplyDelphi to make an inquiry from the gods. In the plot of Aeschylus’Oresteia, both individual as well as globe justice play a key role.All through Agamemnon, and the Eumenides, different characters act onthe basis of their individual perceptions regarding to justice.
In Agamemnon, king of Argos returns from a decade of war in Troy, and when his wife, the queen sees him, she invites him for a bath. She later stabs Agamemnon until he dies, with the help of her lover. According to her perception, this is a just act and this explains why she did it. Prior to that, Agamemnon had made the goddess Artemis angry, and the goddess refused withheld the blowing of the winds, which caused a major problem, since the winds were very significant in the sailing of the Greeks to war.
In order to make Artemis happy, Agamemnon sacrificed his virgin daughter, Iphigenia. The sacrifice made Clytemnestra to be very angry, an issue that led to her betrayal to Agamemnon, even in the murder plot. Nevertheless, her involvement in the murder of Agamemnon only set her up for death, by means of the justice of another. In the play, The Libation Bearers, which is found in the Oresteia, a narration of justice that is turning in opposition to Clytemnestra is told.
The tragedy of in the Oresteia describes a narration in relation to a series of murders ad revolutions. Three significant sacrifices that take place in the storyline of the Oresteia which disrupt the transition of both the government and the systems of justice. Even though Aeschylus seems to be offering the advancement of these institutions, the argument that he presents in relation to justice is one that is actually surrounded by constancy. Whereas the systems of justice may change, the ideas that people have in relation to justice still remains the same. People have a tendency of willingly sacrificing justice for the sake of their benefits, regardless of which system ought to enact that.
Even though Iphigenia’s murder seems to be for the gods, her death is of benefit to both her father and the city where she resides. Prior to her sacrifice so as to show justice, the life of Iphigenia is everything that is standing between the victories of the Greeks against the Trojan. In the prophesy of Calchas, there is an indication of an attack on the Trojans will be very successful, and that the Greek force “will stalk the Priam castle.” A victory would be of benefit to Argos, in terms of his international prestige, as well as the wealth from both plunder and slaves. The death of Iphigenia implies a boost in terms of the economy, and it as well promises the safety of Argos. As Agamemnon makes considerations in regards to the sacrifice of his daughter,he ought to weigh his daugther’sorth in relation to the dangers of displeasing the goddess. However, he is as well encircled by soldiers from other kingssurrounding Greece, and who hungry for war. Since Agamemnon’s claim to rule is largely on the basis of power, his rivals would easily turn against him, in case he is seen as being incapable or weak. Agamemnon acknowledges this risk in his remarks that “My fate will be angry if I act in disobedience to this and the wrath is enormous. This is an illustration that the motivations of Agamemnon are clearly political. The sacrifice of his own daughter is in his individual interest of keeping his post as a king. He as well does this to safeguard the economic in addition to military safety of the city.
Agamemnon serves as the ultimate decider on issues pertaining to justice in Argos. However, due to the risk of usurpation at all times weighs heavily upon the king, the view point of the public is very imperative. By so doing, the public in Argos possess the power to have an influence in the choices that are made by the king, even though it has no formal power. Hearing the plot of the sacrifice of Iphigenia’s by means of the eyes in the Chorus is respected from a methodical point of view since it offers a representation of the Argo’s occupants in relation to the sacrifice. The vivid elements that are in the chorus presents about the violent preparations that are done prior to the sacrifice. However, the chorus goes nervously past the actual Iphigenia’s murder, offering just cursory acknowledgement in relation to the act. Argos has made a sacrifice of a small girl, since her death is in the best interest of the society. However, on a metaphorical degree, Argos has permitted the injustice of one individual in the society so as to safeguard many people.
The failure on the part of the public in avenging Iphigenia as well as enact justice leads to the consequential sacrifice by Clytemnestra. However, in this case, the victim is Agamemnon, as well as his enslaved mistress Cassandra, who is as well murdered alongside him. Like in most tragedies in Greek, this murder takes place offstage. The death of Agamemnon is signified by means of a cry, which frightens the Chorus. The Chorus is then presented with Agamemnon’s dead body, and that of Cassandra’s,whereas the account in relation to the murder is seen through the eyes of Clytemnestra. She refers the murder as being a “sacrament” to that of her child’s justice, wrath, as well as anger.
At this point, the people who were beneficiaries of the sacrifice turns out to be muddled. Firstly, Clytemnestra makes a claim that she murdered Agamemnon so as to enforce justice that owed to Iphigenia, who was her daughter, where the citizens failed to supply justice. This therefore reinforces the role that the public plays in terms of being the real force of justice after the throne. However, Clytemnestra complicates issues by affirming her adulterous sentiments for Aegisthus, as well as her jealousy towards Cassandra. In addition, she speaks of the deviant sexual pleasure that she derived following the commitment of the murders. The speech that she gives implies that she had initially planned to carry out her sacrifice so as to avenge her daughter’s murder, even though her inspiration got corrupted. The actual beneficiary in this case is only Clytemnestra as she fulfills her desires.
After commiting her murders, Clytemnestra tries to make justification in relation to her actions towards the Chorus. There is an outrage from the Chorus after she is murdered, buy they appear to be less concerned by the Agamemnon’s death as well as the injustices that he encountered. Instead, they are saddened at the way Clytemnestra violated the social order, which brought a curse from the gods. Since the victim of Clytemnestra’s murder was a king, and not a child such as Iphigenia, his death was upsetting as it interfered with the political stability that Argo’s people enjoyed. She had sacrificed the monarchy as well as became tyranny. In the Chorus, she is compared to a crow along with a spider, and tries to throw her from the city. Even though they do not have the power to change her decisions any longer, the public has the capacity to speak as well as air their opinions I relation to her choices.
In conclusion, this play places emphasis on the willingness of the city to permit a miscarriage of justice so as to save itself- which alert readers can notice is eerily familiar to the sacrifice of Iphigenia in Agamemnon. A change in government has taken place with a lot of sacrifice, from the monarchy that was under Clytemnestra to the ultimate democracy in the city of Athens. This change is a highlight of the differences that exist between both the new as well as the old government systems, in addition to the shift from savage of human sacrifice to violent and vengeful murders. A collective as well as silent decision is arrived at so as to ignore the ethical responsibility towards impartiality in the favor of the city’s interests. This was the first autonomous trial that the judicial system of Athens establishes as a precedent.
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