Oresteia And Clytemnestra

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The Hymn to Demeter (HH 2) and Aeschylus’s trilogy, Oresteia, portray the ancient Greek view that female character and behavior pose a danger to men and that women need to be controlled by them. This notion manifests differently in respect to gods and humans. Clytemnestra, a human, violates gender roles as she threatens the order brought by men while Demeter, a goddess, conforms to them. Clytemnestra endangers the order established by men, oikos, by threatening their social positions and traditions. In Agamemnon’s absence, Clytemnestra serves as his substitute and rules the house like a man. The chorus tells Clytemnestra, “Lady you speak good sense like a prudent man” (Aeschylus Agamemnon 351). Her comparison to a man during her position in power expresses her threat to men’s power. According to Simon Goldhill in Aeschylus: The Oresteia, “for a woman to plot against man- and thus aim at the position of authority- is inevitably to plot against man.” Clytemnestra does literally plot against a man, Agamemnon. On the day of his return, she murders him (Aesch. Ag. 1241-1345). Through this murder, she maintains power with her new lover, Aegisthus and removes …show more content…

Goldhill states that adultery threatens the social position of men and male inheritance. As mentioned above, Clytemnestra shares her power and wealth with Aegisthus after Agamemnon’s death, preventing Orestes from inheriting them. Aegisthus also avenges his father’s death through his affair with Clytemnestra for she killed Agamemnon, the son of Atreus, the target of his revenge (Aesch. Ag. 1580-1582). Thus, Clytemnestra’s adultery harms the social power of Agamemnon and Orestes as it leads to her abandonment of the two men and her usurpation of power. These consequences express the belief that women’s sexual desire and misuse of body threaten the social power of men and thereby destroy them as Clytemnestra did to Agamemnon and

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