Ate and Justice in the Oresteia College
In the Oresteia, Aeschylus presents his three books (“Agamemnon”, “The Libation Bearers”, and “The Furies”) so that the narrative progresses from madness and lack of justice in “Agamemnon”, where Clytemnestra receives no penalty for her homicide, to Athena's establishment of a justice system so that Orestes' can be properly tried for matricide in “The Furies”. The anarchy in the first book that leads to Agamemnon’s death represents an outdated way of exacting revenge, while the final book in the series breaks a potentially never-ending cycle of blameless murders when Orestes requests a trial to determine whether or not his deadly actions were justified. In essence, Orestes' trial ends the domino effect that starts when Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, Iphigenia. The overall themes that drive this three-book play are até (defined as mental derangement or temporary madness), and justice, the confluence of which affects the actions of Clytemenstra and Orestes and leads to the eventual development of a proper justice system.
Although Agamemnon starts the cycle of killing through his deadly sacrifice of Iphigenia, his wife Clytemnestra continues the trend through the calculated murder of her husband and his concubine,...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 861 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 6546 literature essays, 1773 sample college application essays, 268 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in