Vengeance in Oresteia Essay

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Vengeance in Oresteia From the beginning of time vengeance or retribution has been part of the human condition. This is especially true in Aeschylus's trilogy the Oresteia. One of the underlying themes in these works is Oculo pro oculo or an eye for an eye. According to the plays introduction by Richmond Lattimore, the history behind this blood feud of vengeance begins with Atreus and Thyestes. Atreus tricks his brother Thyestes into partaking of his own children (another possible Hannibal sequel). It is then that Agamemnon, next generation to Atreus and Aegisthus, only surviving son of Thyestes opens up this series of misfortunate events as seen in the trilogy. The series of events takes on a heightened role as Agamemnon is …show more content…
Of course, Agamemnon himself has no reason to seek retribution, however the eye for an eye theme is seen. Helen is "taken" by the enemy, so it is the responsibility of King Agamemnon's position in the hierarchy of nature to strike back, a common theme found in the works of humanity. To insure the success of the expedition, Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigeneia to the gods. Thus, his wife is not pleased with this outcome because she says, "he slaughtered like a victim his own child, my pain grown into love" (51). Strikingly, when Agamemnon returns from his mission he returns with a barbarian by the name of Cassandra and the wife says to the chorus "unless she uses speech incomprehensible, barbarian, wild as the swallow's song, I speak within her understanding, and she must obey" (37). At this point Clytaemestra's blood is boiling for she is already enraged that Agamemnon killed their daughter and to top it off she is not going to let some barbarian hussy rain on her parade. The web only thickens when after Clytaemestra submits to her vengeful nature killing Agamemnon and Cassandra, her lover Aegisthus enters the scene. Even though Aegisthus admits he had no part in the killing of Agamemnon and says the killing is "clearly the deception [of] the woman's part" (58) he does admit to Atreus being a "godless sire" (57), referring to the events in which Atreus fed Thyestes his children. Basically Aegisthus is

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