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An Examination Of Clytaemnestra As A Tragic Victim Of The Oresteia.

2297 words - 9 pages

Clytaemnestra, although villified in the Oresteia, was in fact a moral extractor of vendetta justice who fell victim to the patriarchal Athenian society. What constitutes justice is a question that could not be given justice in one brief paper; therefore, for purposes of this paper we will use only two ideas of justice: vendetta justice and legal justice. Vendetta justice defies boundaries limiting actions and allows the extractor to make their own definition. This would encompass such theory as "An eye for an eye adn a tooth for a tooth." Meanwhile, legal justice is regulated by a governing body who makes the determination as to whether there has been an offense requiring justice, and what consititutes fair and equitable justice. The Oresteia offers two different types of justice, vendetta, as well as trial justice; however, at the time that Clytaemnestra committed the act of murder, legal justice was not being offered to her. It is for this reason that this papers seeks to prove that Clytaemnestra is an extractor of vendetta justice, which is the only justice which she had available to her. An examination of the character of Clytaemnestra by analyzing the dialogue of Agamemnon shows that the actions of Clytaemnestra were not only justified for teh zeitgeist of the Mycenae age, but were also admirable given a woman's position in society. This strength of character is an important and undervalued commodity in a play which offered a strong, determined woman the spotlight to shine as intelligent and capable. Were Clytaemnestra's actions villainous? Certainly one might argue that this is true in today's culture; however, it does not necessarily follow that the actions of Clytaemnestra were either vile or wicked in the eyes of the Athenian culture. The Furies argue that a violation of the blood tie was more heinous a crime that the oath tie shared by Clytaemnestra and Agamemnon; however, when Orestes' later slays his mother he is also in violation of the oath tie as the Athenian premise is that only the father is the true parent. Why then is Clytaemnestra vilified while Orestes is considered a hero garnering sympathy and support from the audience? In determining whether Clytaemnestra was in fact victim rather than villain it is important to examine two main points. The first point is the motive behind the murder of Agamemnon and the second being teh quality of Clytaemnestra's character. These points are very crucial, for they either indict or acquit Clytaemnestra, thus making her victim or villain. Ironically, the dialogue in Oresteia provides the tool which will vindicate Clytaemnestra's act of retaliation.Through Clytaemestra's use of visualization and double entendre, as we will examine below, we can begin to see Clytaemnestra's motives for the murder of Agamemnon and Cassandra. Additionally, by examining her interaction with other characters, such as in the dialogue between Clytaemnestra and the Chorus in Agamemnon, we are given teh opportunity...

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