Eumenides Resolution Of Conflict In Aeschylus' Oresteia

1939 words - 8 pages

The Resolution of Conflict in Aeschylus' Oresteia

    Aeschylus, was a master dramatist - he liked to portray conflict between persons, human or divine, or between principles.1 His trilogy of plays, the Oresteia, develops many conflicts that must be resolved during the action of the Eumenides, the concluding play of the trilogy. The central theme of the Oresteia is justice (dike) and in dealing with questions of justice, Aeschylus at every stage involves the gods.2 The Oresteia's climactic conflict in the Eumenides revolves around justice and the gods - opposing conceptions of justice and conflicting classes of gods. This essay will describe and discuss these conflicts and, more importantly, the manner in which they are resolved so that the play, and indeed the entire trilogy, might reach a satisfactory conclusion.

The conception of justice associated with the Erinyes is that of the ancient lex talionis - the law of retaliation akin to the biblical 'an eye for an eye'. They are primitive female deities, born of Earth. Their chief function is to hound anyone who murders a blood relative and to seek vengeance for that crime by visiting violent death upon its perpetrator. The Olympian deities are champions of the justice of Zeus, their master. The justice of Zeus is more progressive and discriminating than the lex talionis - it never sees the innocent punished.3 In the Eumenides, Apollo is representative of the newer and younger Olympian deities and he speaks on Orestes behalf at the trial. The trial of Orestes takes place when the fate of Orestes cannot be decided by the conflicting powers. Orestes is guilty of murdering his mother, Clytemnestra; hence the Erinyes are baying for his blood as a just and rightful penalty. Apollo is hateful of the Erinyes and what they stand for, he believes that Orestes' matricide was justified because it brought about the vengeance for Agamemnon's death that has been sanctioned by the justice of Zeus. If Orestes killed Clytemnestra not of his own free will but by the will of Zeus he is technically innocent and so cannot be punished according to the justice of Zeus. In seeking Orestes' acquittal, Apollo instructs: -

"This is his justice- omnipotent, I warn you.

Bend to the will of Zeus. No oath can match

the power of the Father."4

Thus, in the Eumenides, old and new laws, older chthonic deities and younger Olympian deities, female and male, all come into fierce conflict. A resolution to this conflict must be found so that order can be restored amid the chaos of violence and vengeance which has been crescendoing throughout the first two plays of the trilogy. At the beginning of the Eumenides the two positions cannot be rationally reconciled, but a solution becomes possible when Apollo (and Orestes) and the Erinyes agree to submit the dispute to be determined judicially, accepting Athena as judge.5 We then get the famous trial of Orestes, the outcome of which will ultimately decide the...

Find Another Essay On Eumenides - Resolution of Conflict in Aeschylus' Oresteia

The Powerful Clytemnestra in Aeschylus' Oresteia

2068 words - 8 pages The Powerful Clytemnestra in Aeschylus' Oresteia What Price Glory? was the title of a Maxwell Anderson play about World War I. Although the Oresteia deals with the period following a much different war, the same question can be asked of it. In the trilogy Aeschylus presents the reader with a stunning example of ancient Greek society, in which warrior ideals were firmly held, and glory in battle was considered the supreme good. The question

Chorus Intervention in Aeschylus' the Eumenides and Agamemnon

982 words - 4 pages In The Eumenides and Agamemnon of The Oresteia trilogy, Aeschylus constructs an over-arching metaphor for elements of the new Athenian democracy. The chorus in each play represents the people who feel under-represented and disrespected, by the society's changing values. In The Eumenides, the chorus of Furies is frustrated with the younger gods and infringements on their power; in Agamemnon the chorus fears more the control of an effective woman

Religious Beliefs in Aeschylus' Oresteia, Homer’s Iliad, and Sophocles’ Electra

1666 words - 7 pages Religious Beliefs in Aeschylus' Oresteia, Homer’s Iliad, and Sophocles’ Electra The final and definitive defeat of the Persian army at the battle of Plataea represented the end of an age-long threat to Athens. But the victory was also a miracle, as all the odds were against the Athenians at the onset of the war. While Pericles took charge of Athens after the war and started the advance of democracy, religion also thrived. The rebuilding of

Comparing Revenge in Aeschylus' The Oresteia Trilogy and Sophocles' Electra

835 words - 3 pages Revenge in Aeschylus' The Oresteia Trilogy and Sophocles' Electra   The act of revenge in classical Greek plays and society is a complex issue with unavoidable consequences. In certain instances, it is a more paramount concern than familial ties. When a family member is murdered another family member is expected to seek out and administer revenge. If all parties involved are of the same blood, the revenge is eventually going to wipe out the

Conflict Resolution In The Workplace

2446 words - 10 pages differences in perceptions, needs, values, power, desires, goals, opinions and many other components of human interaction. These differences often lead to conflict” (p.33). The importance of conflict resolution There are many benefits to implementing dispute resolution processes in your workplace: ·     Reducing conflict increases productivity. ·     You are less likely to have wrongful dismissal claims of human rights or other complaints

Conflict Resolution in Work Teams

2263 words - 9 pages Conflict Resolution in Work Teams:Working Together to Achieve ResultsAbstractUnderstanding conflict is a key element in effectively achieving conflict resolution. Although conflict proves to have benefits and drawbacks, conflict resolution is an important aspect of team unity. An important work-team responsibility is to create a team environment in which conflict can be managed, not avoided. By using the appropriate approaches and methods to

Conflict resolution in the workplace

1090 words - 5 pages Conflict resolution in the workplace Introduction Conflict is a fact in any relationship including the work area. Still, it is important to emphasize that some conflicts should not be seen as good or bad, they are just differences. Many times when there are disagreements between players these issues are left on the table without giving much emphasis. Unfortunately some of these conflicts have reached a level that ends in a physical altercation

Conflict Resolution in the Workplace

2639 words - 11 pages AbstractThe process of identifying and resolving conflict is researched and documented. The topics researched were what conflict is, its causes, how it is managed, and how it impacts the workplace. Not all conflict is negative. Conflict can be positive if resolved properly. The ideas or suggestions derived from conflict resolution can lead to creating new and productive processes.Conflict Resolution in the WorkplaceWhat is conflict? According to

Conflict Resolution In The Workplace

922 words - 4 pages groups of individuals are at times not attainable. We have some people trying their best to make the goals set by the company in order to make X many dollars per month. Things are so bad on the floor that the employees are fighting among themselves trying to attain these at times unrealistic and at times impossible goals.      The second source of conflict is the different personal values we bring to work. We have a variety people working here

The Judgment of Athena in Oresteia

793 words - 3 pages The Judgment of Athena in Oresteia Athena resolves the conflicts of the Oresteia with an ambiguous judgment that seems to satisfy all parties involved. However, in any conflict, at least one party must make sacrifices to work toward a resolution. Athena achieves her paradoxical result by misleading Apollo to think that he has received total victory in judgment and by offering compensatory powers to the Erinyes, thus creating an illusion of

The Imagery of Bloodshed in The Oresteia

3467 words - 14 pages beginnings of the search for deliverance. Finally, in The Eumenides, the images of bloodshed are transformed into ones of "ripeness" testifying that a blessed end to all the pain can be found in a resolution between the ancient vendetta and the new social order.          Works Cited Aeschylus. Aeschylus, The Oresteia A New Translation for the Theater by Aeschylus,. Translated by Wendy Doniger and David Greene. University of Chicago Press, 1989.

Similar Essays

Oresteia The Issue Of Justice In Aeschylus' Eumenides

2550 words - 10 pages Oresteia - The Issue of Justice in Aeschylus' Eumenides The concept of justice is manifested through the three plays of Aeschylus' Oresteia. The old tradition of justice, the private blood feud, caused an ungoverned succession of violent acts that spiralled uncontrollably. Aegisthus, Clytemnestra's lover, is introduced in Agamemnon; he desires vengeance for the plot contrived by Agamemnon's father (Ag: 1605-1611).1 Neither Agamemnon nor

The Philosophy And Psychology Of Sophocles’s Antigone And The Eumenides In Aeschylus’ Oresteia

2452 words - 10 pages The Philosophy and Psychology of Sophocles’s Antigone and The Eumenides in Aeschylus’ Oresteia There is a consensus among readers of the poetry or plays written in the fifth century that the plays succeed with inspiring profound movement on the audience. The methods or reasons for the reader to be moved by a text are often disputed. Specific to tragic works the concepts of philosophy and psychology are critical elements to

Progression Of Light In Aeschylus' Oresteia

1446 words - 6 pages through the conflict between the Olympic and Chthonic gods. The Olympic gods are represented in the Oresteia by Apollo and Athene. Aeschylus ties together the ideas of justice and reason, Athene's domain, with the idea of light, of which Apollo is god. By contrast, the black clad Chthonic gods, the Furies, tie together the idea of darkness with the idea of bloody revenge, which is their area of specialization. In the Eumenides, Pythia says of the

The Oresteia The War Of The Sexes In Eumenides

2168 words - 9 pages and just, your friends-in-arms for ever." (Aeschylus, The Eumenides, Robert Fagles Trans., lines 286 - 290, Penguin Classics, 1977.) This reads almost as an advertisement for woman's superiority over the male, Orestes realizes that Apollo alone is not enough to save him from the Furies, rather he must call down Athene who, with her diplomacy and without aid of force, he feels can help him. "The warrioress is turning conflict into peace, her