Reproduction of the Oikos in Aeschylus’ Oresteia

2296 Words10 Pages
Aeschylus’ Oresteia is the chronicles of a cursed family that includes a circle of betrayal, adultery, and murder, among other things. The Greek word oikos can be used to describe the Greek family structure. In Homer’s Odyssey, two polar opposites of oikoi are given. First, the son of Odysseus’ son Telemachus meets Nestor, who symbolizes a near-perfect oikos . The family is involved in a large sacrificial feast upon the arrival of Telemachus . He also utilizes xenia, the Greek word for manners or the ideal guest-host relationship, to perfection. The family is tight knit, and they are a prime example for any oikos found in literature. Another oikos that is explained in the Odyssey is the one found in the Oresteia. The importance of the oikos in the Oresteia can be seen in the opening seconds of the play. The physical oikos can be seen right away, as the lookout from the top of the house can be heard bellowing at the beginning of Agamemnon . The literal oikos on the stage only helps to convey the problems with the oikos both symbolically and physically. There are many problems evident with this oikos. Some problems with the oikos arise because of the sacrifice of Iphigenia by Agamemnon, but the majority of the problems with the oikos arise because of Agamemnon’s wife, Clytemnestra. A point can be made that a loyal and productive woman is necessary for the proper health and maintenance of the oikos. Clytemnestra fails this in many ways. The gender roles shown in the oikos are not common, and are reversed to a certain degree. Clytemnestra does not mourn her dead husband, and is not able to administer the funeral rites and she was the one who murdered him. The lack of funeral rites is uncommon and problematic. Clytemnestra also shows ... ... middle of paper ... ... Oikos in Aischylos' Oresteia." American Journal of Philology 125.4 (2004): 513-38. Print. Lebeck, Anne. The Oresteia; a Study in Language and Structure. Washington: Center for Hellenic Studies; Distributed by Harvard UP, Cambridge, Mass., 1971. Print. Nevett, Lisa C. House and Society in the Ancient Greek World. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999. Print. Roy, J. "Polis and Oikos in Classical Athens." Greece and Rome 46.01 (1999): 1-18. Print. Widzisz, Marcel Andrew. Cronos on the Threshold. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington, 2011. Print. The Fires of the Oresteia. Timothy Nolan Gantz, The Journal of Hellenic Studies , Vol. 97, (1977), pp. 28-38 The Theme of Corrupted Xenia in Aeschylus' "Oresteia" Paul Roth Mnemosyne , Fourth Series, Vol. 46, Fasc. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 1-17 Goldhill, Simon. Aeschylus, the Oresteia. Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1992. Print.

    More about Reproduction of the Oikos in Aeschylus’ Oresteia

      Open Document