The Orestes Play 'Aeschylus The Libation Bearers'

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The Orestes Plays are a trilogy of Greek tragedies written in 458 BCE by Aeschylus. The plays have remained relevant because they are one of the only complete Greek tragedies remaining and it is very easy to relate to the characters as we share the same neurological structures that Aeschylus targeted for the audience it was originally performed for. The second of the Orestes Plays of Aeschylus titled, The Libation Bearers, features the protagonist Orestes, who is persuaded by Apollo to seek revenge for his father’s wrongful death by killing his mother Clytemnestra. Soon after completing his quest, he is surrounded by evil furies that haunt him. In this midterm essay, I will attempt to persuade the reader using neuroscience that Orestes was…show more content…
Clytemnestra became furious with Agamemnon for having a mistress and also for sacrificing one of their daughters to calm the sea. In anger, Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon and Cassandra and proclaimed herself ruler of Argos. At this time, having an affair may have been more socially acceptable than it would be today, however, this seems as though it might be a rational, but somewhat violent reaction to finding out that your husband is having an affair. When viewed from Clytemnestra’s eyes, it would be hard to blame her for wanting revenge for her daughter’s death. After all the events above occur, the second play begins with Orestes at his father’s grave with Electra. He tells his sister “Apollo’s great strong oracle shall not forsake me now. It told me to accept this challenge, loudly cheered me on, warmed the gall in me with dire predictions.” This means that Apollo, Greek god of the sun, was able to persuade Orestes to avenge Agamemnon’s death by pursuing the quest to kill his mother. In Ghosts of Theatre and Cinema in the Brain by Mark Pizzato, it is stated that we all have unconscious “zombies” in our neurological pathways that are “perfectly alert and capable of making complex, skilled movements” (Pizzato 56). I believe that Orestes had unconsciously wanted to kill his mother to avenge his father’s death for many years. Apollo knew that he could trigger these unconscious “zombies” by feeding him the idea to murder his mother through his oracle. This shows how easy it was to induce action out of Orestes and leads me to believe that he was
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