The Family Curse In Agamemnon And The Libation Bearers

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The family curse in Aeschylus ' the Orestia functions as an underlying theme throughout the trilogy being most prevalent in the first two plays of said trilogy, Agamemnon and The Libation Bearers. The curse is established well before the start of the trilogy beginning three generations before Orestes ' time, beginning with Pelops.
The significance of the family curse for the context of the Orestia however starts with two of Pelops ' sons, Atreus and Thyestes. Atreus and Thyestes ' impact on the curse arises when Thyestes seduces his brother 's wife Aerope while deciding which brother should take the throne. Atreus, who ultimately wins the throne, is angered by the act of adultery committed by his brother and devises a plan to exact his revenge
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When Orestes returns from exile he says to his sister Electra that he was told by Apollo to avenge their father 's death by killing their mother. After Orestes has murdered both Aegisthus Clytaemnestra, he is to stand trial for his actions which are the events that take place in The Eumenides. During the trial Orestes believes that he was in the right for killing his mother because he was instructed by a divine being, Apollo, to do so. In the end, Orestes is exonerated from his crimes during the trial due to the gods, specifically Athene and Apollo. With Orestes being exonerated, the cycle of killing and violence that is the family curse comes to an…show more content…
In Agamemnon, Aegisthus did not physically commit the acts of slaying Agamemnon or Cassandra but acknowledges that death may very well be a punishment he will have to face, “death you said and death it shall be; we take up the word of fate” (1653). Aegisthus is aware that his actions may come full circle and result in his demise, but justifies that it had to be done to justify the wrongs committed by Agamemnon 's father. In The Libation Bearers, Orestes claims that Apollo “said that else I must myself pay penalty with my own life, and suffer much sad punishment” (276-277) should he not succeed in avenging his father 's death. This implies that if Orestes did not follow through with the murders the curse would continue onto the next generation and Orestes himself would become a victim of the curse on worse terms than presently. Orestes explicitly says to Clytaemnestra when he confronts her, “how shall I escape my father 's curse, if I fail here?” (925). Orestes knows that he will be plagued with the curse if he does not follow through with Apollo 's instructions. In the same play, the chorus too believe that with the killing of Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus the curse will come to an end as they say, “the bloody edges of the knives that rip man-flesh are moving to work it will mean utter and final ruin imposed on Agamemnon 's house” (859-863). The chorus in The Libation Bearers is
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