Essay on The Hymn Of Demeter And Oresteia

Essay on The Hymn Of Demeter And Oresteia

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Ten missed phone calls from your mother. The first thoughts running through almost anyone’s mind: panic and fright. These are thoughts that many people have because mothers can be scary. Women in general can be scary; they are seen as more emotional, caring, and passionate than men. Most mothers are seen as great role models because of this. The fact that they only want their children to grow up happy and healthy is a good thing. In society, this is seen as normal female behavior and is expected. However, because of this behavior, Greek society believed that women, especially mothers, were not fit to be rulers or to have strong power because of their emotional instability, their passion, and their deceitfulness. The Hymn to Demeter and Oresteia, written by Aeschylus, are both works in which this is seen.
In the Oresteia, Clytemnestra is ruling in place of her husband while he is away in war. The watchman that starts off the play explains that she is ruling to the best of her abilities. However, he says, “I weep in lament for this house’s misfortune; it is not managed for the best as it was before” (Aeschylus 17-20). This quote is important because it shows how passionate the watchman is about Clytemnestra ruling. He does not think she is capable of being a proper leader. He uses strong words, such as lament. He is depressed and cannot stop thinking about how badly Clytemnestra rules even when he is trying to rest. Additionally, he believes that the house, which symbolizes the kingdom, is under misfortune. The word choice is key here as well. He does not think the house is doing fine or simply just going through bad times. He believes the house is in misfortune because of Clytemnestra. The watchman also explains that Clytemnestr...

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... stop. So, Clytemnestra gets an extremely less forgiving fate than Demeter mostly because of the fact that Demeter is a goddess. Clytemnestra is just a mortal that is used as a pawn by the gods.
Overall, Demeter and Clytemnestra are both dynamic characters in their works. The authors portray them as unstable and grieving mothers that cannot handle ruling. This is shown with the chaos that they both created. However, the only difference that exists is that Demeter was shown more forgiveness than Clytemnestra. This is because Demeter has more power than a mere mortal. The gods were afraid of Demeter’s power; she was going to drive both mankind and mortals out of existence. On the other hand, Clytemnestra can do no harm to the gods so she was punished by fate with her own son. These women were examples as to why Greek society believed that women should not be rulers.

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