The final and definitive defeat of the Persian army at the battle of Plataea represented the end of an age-long threat to Athens. But the victory was also a miracle, as all the odds were against the Athenians at the onset of the war. While Pericles took charge of Athens after the war and started the advance of democracy, religion also thrived. The rebuilding of the Acropolis and the construction of the Parthenon and its great statue of Athene under Pericles' rule signified the height of religious belief among Athenians. However, the shift in power from the aristocrats to the common men in the new democracy, and the Peloponnesian War and Great Plague that followed the shift, all contributed to a general decline in religious belief. Only a few decades after reaching its peak, it reached an all-time low. This change in attitude among Athenians can be observed by comparing the works of two tragedians, Aeschylus and Sophocles, whose plays were performed in each of these two periods. But even with this dramatic shift, it is clear that Athenians remained believers throughout these periods, because religion was, and always has been, a huge part of their culture.
The religious view of Athenians before the Peloponnesian War can be best demonstrated by the portrayal of interaction between men and Gods in Aeschylus’ work, The Eumenides. From the first scene, when “The doors of the temple open and show Orestes surrounded by the sleeping Furies, Apollo and Hermes beside him” (Aeschylus, 137), one can see that in Aeschylus’ eyes, Gods and Goddesses are not something distant and unreachable, but instead, they are “real” figures who will at times stand by our s...
... middle of paper ...
...ardless of how "good" or "bad" they were, and despite constant worship the Gods did not intervene. Having witnessed such horrors, it is understandable that people of those times, such as Sophocles, would have taken a step back and wondered if the Gods were actually there. Having gone through a period as such, it is only natural for even the most faithful to doubt a little, which was evident from the absence of interaction between Gods and men in Sophocles’ work, Electra. However, it is clear as had been previously pointed out, that while belief in the literal truth of the myths was suppressed, the Gods did live on in the hearts of the Athenians.
Aeschylus. “Aeschylus I / Oresteia”. The University of Chicago Press, 1983: 131 – 171.
Homer. “The Iliad”. Penguin Books, 1998: 128 - 143
Sophocles. “Electra”. Oxford University Press, 2001: 50 – 111
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Aeschylus was, by all accounts, a notable participant in Athens’s major dramatic competitions. Regarded as the father of tragedy, Aeschylus used poetry to address ethical dilemmas that were often present during his time. In the Oresteia, Aeschylus’ religious tendencies seem to, at times, cloud his view. In the context of the play, events created by human hubris set off a chain reaction of such epic proportions that only the gods can help mend; he seems to forgive and forget the gods involvement in the events that lead to the curse.... [tags: Literary Analysis ]
1620 words (4.6 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.... [tags: Aeschylus Oresteia ]
2296 words (6.6 pages)
- Euripides’ Electra is a tragedy that encourages readers to consider the problematic nature of humanity’s response to injustice: its quest to make fair that which is unfair, to correct unjust actions, and to mark the fragile border between what is ethically correct and morally wrong. Aristophanes’ Clouds is a tragedy disguised as a comedy that illuminates Strepsiades’s profound disregard for justice, conduct, and the establishment of civilization. Underneath Aristophanes’ comedic approach lies a dark conclusion that alludes to a problem that civilization faces today: ignorance and its resistance to evolution.... [tags: euripide, electra]
1334 words (3.8 pages)
- Importance of the Tutor in Electra When delving into a novel, drama or other character-based text, analysts often focus their search around the supposed "major characters" who seem to most directly affect the work. In considering Electra, however, just as valuable as Orestes, Clytemnestra or Electra herself is a somewhat minor character, the Tutor. This attendant of Orestes emerges only three times and is on stage for less than twenty percent of the spoken lines, yet his role in driving the plot is as great as any.... [tags: electra]
1607 words (4.6 pages)
- Revenge in Aeschylus' The Oresteia Trilogy and Sophocles' Electra The act of revenge in classical Greek plays and society is a complex issue with unavoidable consequences. In certain instances, it is a more paramount concern than familial ties. When a family member is murdered another family member is expected to seek out and administer revenge. If all parties involved are of the same blood, the revenge is eventually going to wipe out the family. Both Aeschylus, through "The Oresteia Trilogy," and Sophocles, through "Electra," attempt to show the Athenians that revenge is a just act that at times must have no limits on its reach.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
843 words (2.4 pages)
- Justice in Aeschylus' The Oresteia How can an endless and violently destructive cycle be just. The concept appears in places along the human timeline as diverse as the Bible and West Side Story. Why do people have a tendency to amplify and repeat violence through a cycle of murder and revenge, and how can this destructive process be called justice. In The Oresteia, the cycle is a familiar one, but is also interweaved with gender issues and a sense of justice that changes within the cycle itself.... [tags: Aeschylus Oresteia]
1534 words (4.4 pages)
- The Importance of Gender in Aeschylus' Oresteia Gender is made explicit as a theme throughout the Oresteia through a series of male-female conflicts and incorrectly gendered characters dominated by the figure of Clytemnestra, a woman out of place. This opposition of gender then engenders all the other oppositions of the trilogy; conflicts of oikos and polis, chthonic and Olympian, old and young can be assigned to female and male spheres respectively. In this essay I will look at how the polis examines itself in terms of gender by focusing on the Eumenides' exploration of the myth of matriarchy, issues of the conflict between oikos and polis and the use of speech within the polis.... [tags: Aeschylus Oresteia]
3666 words (10.5 pages)
- An Overview of Electra Euripides' play Electra, produced in 415 b.c.e., starts with a peasant recounting past events: Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon and took the throne of Mycenae. Agamemnon's son Orestes escaped and has been raised in Phocis. Daughter Electra, when marriageable, was forced to wed this peasant instead of any noble, whereby Aegisthus' rule might be endangered. The marriage has not been consummated. "If any man thinks me a fool, for harbouring / A young girl in my house and never touching her, / He measures what's right by the wretched standard of / His own mind" (107).... [tags: Euripides Electra Essays]
580 words (1.7 pages)
- The House of Mannon Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra is a play of revenge, sacrifice, and murder conveyed through visible references to Aeschylus’ House of Atreus. O’Neill alludes to The House of Atreus in order to ground the play; attaching the plot to well-known aspects of history. As well, it brings a certain significance that otherwise would be neglected if their underlying manifestations went unnoticed. The most prominent of these allusions is that to Aeschylus’ House of Atreus. O’Neill specifically modeled Mourning around Aeschylus’ work, modernizing it, applying it to a new generation of readers.... [tags: essays research papers]
1351 words (3.9 pages)
- Aeschylus was born in Eleusis, a Greek town near Athens, in 525 B.C. He was the first of the great Greek tragedians, preceding both Sophocles and Euripides, and is often credited with inventing tragic drama. Prior to Aeschylus, plays were primitive, consisting of a single actor and a chorus offering commentary. In his works, he added a "second actor" (often more than one) thus creating endless new dramatic possibilities. He lived until 456 B.C., fighting in the wars against Persia, and attaining great acclaim in the world of the Athenian theater.... [tags: essays research papers]
1818 words (5.2 pages)
- Tolkien's Lord of the Rings as a Catholic Epic
- Use of Symbolism in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
- Citizenship and Government in Henry Thoreau's Civil Disobedience
- Comparing Good and Evil in Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
- Making a Difference
- Comparing Women's Revenge in The Oresteia and Medea