Justice Portrayed In Agamemnon Essay

1689 words - 7 pages

Justice portrayed in Agamemnon The system of justice evolves, as society becomes more multifaceted and civilized. Emerging in the city-state of Athens was democracy, which brought extraordinary power to her society. Within this power birthed the authority to legislate. Yet, legislation is never without it?s problems. Society must first agree upon what is just and unjust. The Athenian society realizes their need democratic justice. As we look at the first play, Agamemnon, we find it is a first look into the evolution of Athenian justice. At the end of Agamemnon, it leaves us with the most graphic image of a city divided against itself. What has gone on in the name of justice is leading to the most horrible of all possible communal disasters, civil war, the most alarming manifestation of the total breakdown of justice. I believe since Aeschylus was a creator of tragic drama, he used his art form as a weapon for democracy, law, and the peaceful resolution of conflict.The first play of the trilogy, calls our attention repeatedly to a central concept of justice: justice as revenge. The revenge ethic, makes justice the personal responsibility of someone who is a close blood relative of a person who has been murdered. The murder must be killed and the proper person, who agrees that the charge is an evident responsibility, must carry out that killing personally. It was law and everyone understood it as the chorus states ?Each charge meets counter-charge. None can judge between them. Justice. The plunderer plundered, the killer pays the price. The truth still holds while Zeus still holds the throne.? (Ag, 1592-1595). Linking vengeance to the family, it is a radically simple and powerful emotional foundation for justice. Even if we don?t have any kind of law such as the revenge ethic, I believe that we can all understand the feelings which makes us seek to take revenge, especially when someone has done any kind of violence or has wronged any member of our own family. I think we should remember those feeling while we evaluate if there is justice in our main characters actions. In Agamemnon, revenge is the central issue. We realize that in this play what the consequence of revenge is and that it emerges as something problematic. There seems to be a beginning of a never-ending cycle of violence, killing in the name of revenge for justice. I thought that the image of the city caught in a net where they can?t seem to escape was very illustrative. The chorus says about Clytaemnestra ?queen of the house who covers us with glories, you slung your net on the towers of Troy, neither young nor strong could leap the giant dredge net of slavery, all-embracing ruin.? (Ag, 360-364). Clytaemnestra also states ?How else to prepare a death for deadly men who seem to love you? How to rig the nets of pain so high no man can overleap them?? (Ag, 1396-1399). The revenge has woven a cycle of required destruction about the city. Society feels trapped and they cannot find a way...

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