The Role Of Justice In Tragic Orestes

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Greek literature has forced a theme of tyrannical nemesis upon its contents. It is shown that fate and its agents have controlled the Greek sense of justice in a strictly one-sided method. This “dictatorship” of punishment has lead to countless deaths of innocent, and the release of guilty based on the decree of an individual. Sophocles introduces an opposition to the former ideal by presenting a seemingly unresolvable scenario. Neither the revenge of the Furies nor the compassion of Apollo can grant justice single-handedly upon the crimes of tragic Orestes. Therefore, from the opposing concepts of justice, as presented by Apollo and the Furies, it is shown that the mean of the two is the ultimate ideal of justice. In order to understand…show more content…
He uses concepts of mercy and leniency in a way opposing that of the Furies. He not only believes Orestes is innocent but also restates his disdain at the methods of the Furies multiple times, saying, “They disgust me. These grey, ancient children never touched by god, man or beast - the eternal virgins. Born for destruction only, the dark pit, they range the bowels of Earth, the world of death, loathed by men and the gods who hold Olympus (BLANK)”. He supposedly has extensive insight on, “The rules of justice (BLANK).” With that in mind, he seems to lean further away from justice into anarchy. Apollo is dismissing the methods of the Furies completely and establishes personal motives to save Orestes. So despite his knowledge, he ignores the concepts of justice, and its appointed executers, and creates an anarchy where the lack opposition makes him a slave to himself. So in attempting to preserve justice, he created a verdict that, although it was indirectly justifiable, failed to create a verdict for Orestes that was justly…show more content…
Neither the tyrannical punishment or anarchist leniency can solve this dilemma. However, Athena, the goddess of wisdom, reveals the answer. She says, in a remarkable conclusion to the issue, “Neither anarchy nor tyranny, my people. Worship the Mean, I urge you, shore it up with reverence and never banish terror from the gates, not outright (BLANK).” This quote explains that on their own, neither side is a viable solution, but that the mean of the two is the answer. The mean is a rare thing, and it must be valued. Sophocles identifies this concept as the court. Athens is given the privilege of judging between the two sides. Those who vote do not have an iron rule individually, nor a selfish chaos, but instead a self-checking balance with power over the gods and furies. The sacred court, must not be overthrown, innovated, or changed. From this all, it is shown that the mean is the ultimate ideal of
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