An analysis of the symbolism of political changes in the eumenides by aeschylus

The law as it stands is situated in almost Biblical terms as a once thriving garden invaded by the agents of darkness. The serpent becomes the symbol of this intrusion into the promise of light and its corruption into darkness.

There is also a significant amount of animal symbolism in the plays, and humans who forget how to govern themselves justly tend to be personified as beasts. Apollo speaks on behalf of Oresteswhile the Erinyes act as advocates for the dead Clytemnestra.

Light from Darkness Images of darkness transforming into light peppers the trilogy with both literal and figurative appearances.

aeschylus ii the oresteia

The tension between tyranny and democracy, a common theme in Greek drama, is palpable throughout the three plays. The trapping of humans as simple creatures becomes a repetitive device that reveals the hubris of humans as well as their predatory nature. Nets The recurring symbolic image of the net which is used for the opposite effect of personification.

Orestes thus is infused with the symbolism of the person whose past has moved to them to flight in search of who they really are.

Summary aeschylus agamemnon

There is also an underlying metaphorical aspect to the entire drama: the change from archaic self-help justice by personal revenge or vendetta to the administration of justice by trial sanctioned by the gods themselves throughout the series of plays, symbolizes the passage from a primitive Greek society governed by instincts, to a modern democractic society governed by reason. Athena herself presides over the trial, instructing her citizens to watch and learn how a trial should be conducted. In the first place, such an honor has until now been reserved for the gods, making the crimson walkway a figurative pathway to godliness. The law as it stands is situated in almost Biblical terms as a once thriving garden invaded by the agents of darkness. Serpent Serpent imagery also populates the Oresteia as a political symbol representing the transformation of the system of justice. Resources English translation by E. Nets The recurring symbolic image of the net which is used for the opposite effect of personification. As these new versions of the Oresteia myth have evolved, so has Orestes taken on a deeper symbolism of not just a person trying to escape from past transgressions of sin or morality, but in the chase a figure trying to run toward his own identity. Revenge and the murder of close family members out of ambition have transformed the promise into a domain of immorality. Instead, the nets dehumanize the characters to lower them to the level of animals—primitive creatures at that—easily caught up in the web designed by others to trap them. The Red Carpet Things start off symbolically bad for Agamemnon, though he remains blinded by his own sense of self-satisfaction to be capable of seeing it. The red carpet over which he trods with an awareness of his own greatness verging uncomfortably into the realm of divinity is symbolic in a twofold way.

Together the literal and figurative taking on a much deeper symbolism related to the ultimate theme of the plays: the sanctioning of Athenian law which rejects the traditions of vengeance as the proper dispensation of justice. The goddess of justice intervenes and brings in a jury of twelve Athenians to judge Orestes.

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Oresteia Symbols, Allegory and Motifs