The Oresteia Essay

The Oresteia Essay

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The Oresteia


In the trilogy Oresteia, the issues concerned are the transformation from vengeance to law, from chaos to peace, from dependence to independence, and from old to new. These four significant changes all take place throughout the play and are somewhat parallel to the transformations that were going on in Ancient Greece.

In Aeschylus' trilogy, the Greeks' justice system went through a transformation from old to new ways. In the beginning of the trilogy, the characters settle their matters, both personal and professional, with vengeance. Vengeance is when someone is harmed or killed, and either the victim, or someone close to them takes revenge on the criminal. This matter is proven in the trilogy numerous times. For example, Clytemnestra murders Agamemnon as revenge for his sacrifice of their daughter Iphigeneia. Along those same lines, in the second part of the trilogy, Choephoroe, Orestes, who is Agamemnon son, murders Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. He does this in order to gain revenge on them for killing his father. It was by this way that people would deal with conflict, and it was thought to be not only a justice system, but also a honorable and fair. In fact, one of the principal purposes of the first play of the trilogy is to force us to recognize that justice based on revenge creates special difficulties, which in turn cannot be solved. It does not solve the problems that it is meant to, but only causes more problems that are even larger. As the third and last part of the trilogy begins, the system begins to evolve and change from vengeance to genuine justice. Instead of getting revenge on Orestes and killing him, they decide to put him on trial and have a jury decide whether or not he sho...


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... has been a change from old to new. When the play is over, although it is the end, it is the beginning of a new way of life for both the characters in the Oresteia and the Greeks.

These four different transformations all take place as the trilogy of Oresteia move along. The change is very subtle, but in the end, everything is different than it was when the play first began. For, in the beginning, it was a vengeful world full of chaos and everyone was dependent on the old gods. In the end, there is a fair justice system that was used in the trial of Orestes, in which their is a trial and a jury, and you have a feeling of harmony and peace. The new Olympian gods help to bring the characters problems to a close, before the play comes to an end. The Oresteia was a play that really captivates well the changes that were going on in the times of Ancient Greece.

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