Matricide In The Oresteia

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Can matricide ever be justified? The Eumenides is the last tragedy of the trio The Oresteia written by Aeschylus. The tragedy narrates the shift of the justice system from the old gods’ absolute approach towards the new gods’ approach that enables hearing of the other side of a crime. The crime on trial is matricide committed by Orestes, defended as a revenge of his father’s murder. Both sides make claims centring around the judgement of Zeus, the most powerful, to determine the borders of justice. The trial is symbolic in a sense that is represents mortals’ participation in the law and the conversion from a matriarchal perspective of family structure to a patriarchal one. On one side, we see the old gods mainly represented by Furies. In Eumenides,…show more content…
Furies insist on the killing of Orestes because murder of his mother could not have any justification and the divine punishment was set right after the act of killing . The argumentation on the trial of Athena moves based on the old tradition which encompasses around Zeus. Furies claim that Clytemnestra’s murder of her husband was not exile-worthy because they were not blood-related . Killing of a father is not an as serious crime as killing of a mother because Zeus killed his father Kronos too . These arguments of Furies make it clear that their judgement is matriarchal biased. They think tradition produces such an approach to the justice. Furies believe justice fails when Athena decides there will be a trial with Athenians being the judges . Mortals participating as decision makers while the divine justice being ignored causes Furies to think themselves as insignificant and they start showing humanely emotions such as rage . This shows even the powerful old gods demonstrate weak mortal behaviours which indicates their judgement could not be taken as absolute due to such weakness. The nature of justice and whether mortals should participate in it is one of the sharp differences in the opinion of the old gods and the…show more content…
This evolution is buffered and made possible by the superior power of the new gods. Another shift in the story is from the matriarchal view of the family structure to a patriarchal one which reshapes the punishments of some crimes such as matricide. In consequence, the participation of the mortals in the trial is significant because this shift greatly affects the justice applying to them. Would the old absolute approach to justice be maintained if a better decision-making mechanism was

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