By Simon Goldhill
Simon Goldhill makes a speciality of the play's themes--justice, sexual politics, violence, and the position of guy in historical Greek culture--in this normal creation to Aeschylus' Oresteia, probably the most vital and influential of all Greek dramas. After exploring how Aeschylus constructs a fantasy for town within which he lived, a last bankruptcy considers the effect of the Oresteia on extra modern theater. The volume's prepared constitution and advisor to extra analyzing will make it a useful reference for college students and teachers.
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Additional resources for Aeschylus: The Oresteia
In the Choephoroi, there is a similar pattern of extended preparation for the central confrontation of protagonists, mother and son. First, Orestes returns with his companion Pylades to pray at the tomb of his father for divine support. Electra and the chorus of female palace servants enter, also on their way to the tomb, carrying libations from Clytemnestra (hence the play’s title which means ‘libation bearers’, as it is sometimes called in translations of the trilogy). Clytemnestra has had a terrifying dream and has sent her daughter to appease the spirit of Agamemnon with the libations.
And as the Furies turn in anger against Athens, Athene’s persuasion assimilates them into the city, as guardians of order. On both the human and the divine level there is in the final scenes of the trilogy a move away from bloody conflict where each victory leads to disastrous transgression towards an institution and practice that aim to resolve conflict without transgressive destructiveness. As the narrative has been motivated by a pattern of transgression and punishment, so the narrative ends with the 28 THE ORESTEIA discovery of the potential to avoid the unending violence of revenge and reversal.
How does her representation relate to the expectations of a woman’s role? There are two particular ways that the figure of Clytemnestra is constructed as transgressive, her use of language and her sexual behaviour. Let us look at both in turn. Now in democratic Athens, as we have seen, there was little public role for women. Despite the function of women in certain religious ceremonies, neither Assembly nor law-court allowed women any speaking role. Indeed, the association of women with the inside of the house, private and unseen, is pervasive in Greek writing.