When we first get into Agamemnon, we get a glimpse of what was happening while Agamemnon was gone to the Trojan War. Clytemnestra has been ruling in his place, and more importantly planning his death. She wanted him to die for sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia, which under her views was unforgivable and punishable. This is our first view of how justice is used as the title of vengeance and revenge, and how a character’s rectitude is used as a justification for their actions. Aeschylus shows us in his first play that not only was Clytemnestra’s view of justice for Iphigenia was for her to kill her daughter’s killer, but that she also believed that the gods would agree with her. This is seen in the play during when...
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Throughout the trilogy of plays written by Aeschylus, we see the word justice used when discussing what people deserve. Yet, vengeance and retaliation would have been a better word to use when discussing a character’s actions. In Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, as well as The Furies, the character’s used justice as a word to try to pretty up what they are doing, and make their actions seem more righteous. Their behavior was not even close to that though, as it was arbitrary, contradicting, and hypocritical through each story. Justice in mythological times had nothing to do with what was lawful and unbiased, and was instead about what they wanted personally, and was what they named and used to describe the vicious cycle of revenge and violence.
Aeschylus, Peter Meineck, and Helene P. Foley. Oresteia. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub., 1998.
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