Suffering and Salvation in Electra and Matthew Essay

Suffering and Salvation in Electra and Matthew Essay

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Injustice and justice balance out. One might even go so far as to say that the two are one and the same, that they are two sides of the same coin. But why are they so important? Why have wars been waged over instances of injustice? Why are the two usually thought of as being separate? Both Euripides' Electra and the King James Version of Matthew suggest that justice and injustice are important and distinct because one brings about salvation, while the other is itself a sort of salvation. Injustice leads to the instance of justice—of salvation. Consequently, injustice and justice may be thought of as two separate and distinct ideas. Salvation is a concern that is dependent upon instances of injustice and justice. In Electra and Matthew, these instances of injustice and justice are acts of murder.
The injustice that Orestes and Electra mete to Aigisthos and Clytemnestra is similar to the injustice that humanity deals to Jesus. In Electra, Orestes states that he must "kill [his] father's murderers" (El. 287) upon Apollo's command. Upon murdering their mother, however, Electra and Orestes regret what they have done. Similarly, Jesus tells his disciples that "he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed" (King James Version, Matt. 16. 21). Jesus' murder is ordained by God, just as the murders of Aigisthos and Clytemnestra are ordained by a god. These murders are particularly brutal, suggesting that the murdered must experience gratuitous suffering in order for salvation to be attained. But the murderers are not spared from their own lot of suffering, either. Orestes and Judas confess strikingly similar regrets about their actions. Judas says, "I have sinned in that I hav...


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.... Salvation would be meaningless and hollow without a purpose. And indeed, salvation serves to fulfill a purpose in Electra and in Matthew. In Electra, Castor states that the gods rescue not "those whom murder pollutes but those who hold precious in life all things godly and just" (El. 1395-97), suggesting that salvation is not attainable for everyone. Only those who are judged to be godly or just are worthy of receiving the salvation of the gods—just like in Matthew. God, like the gods in Electra, offers salvation only to those who are worthy of receiving salvation. Jesus urges the people to "seek…ye first the kingdom of God" (Matt. 6. 33), because one can only enter Heaven by being truly prepared in terms of faith and goodness. The purpose of salvation for both the gods and God is to reward those who have met the conditions set down by the deities of being worthy.

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