Manipulation In Oresteia

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Manipulation: the skillful handling, controlling or using of something or someone. Throughout John Lewin's adaptation of Aeschylus' three-part Oresteia, the characters utilize the art of manipulation in order to achieve their own ends. This form of persuasion is first seen in the words of Queen Clytemnestra in her initial aim to take revenge upon the murderer of her child; then to condemn the son that slew her. Mortals are not alone in these acts of manipulation. Both the ancient and young deities attempt employing the power of language; the Furies to retain their ancient privilege of punishment, and the Olympian gods to spread a new form of justice. These instances of manipulation are seen in appeals to ethics, emotion, and logic. Clytemnestra faces the killer of her daughter, hiding her hatred in order to take his…show more content…
Once Apollo attempts to halt their punishment of Orestes, they proclaim their right to do so, ordering him not to “try to talk [them] out of [their] ancient privilege.” (III.181). This talk of old powers and privileges continues on throughout the play, appealing to the credibility of their character. The goddesses later question whether Orestes can be guiltless when Apollo himself, the one who ordered the murder of Clytemnestra, was “still dripping with blood” (III. 155). When their hypocrisy in torturing only Orestes is objected to, as his mother committed mariticide and was not hounded, they defend themselves, arguing “[i]t [was] not kindred blood,” and thus it “[did] not count” (III.165). Once the gods threaten to take their powers of retribution from them, they are quick to insist that “[n]o man today / [w]ill stray from virtue / [w]ho knows that Justice / [m]ay strike tomorrow” (III.414-417). This defense relies upon man’s fear of retribution, and the assumption that without it, all men would commit acts of
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