The Theme Of Justice In The Oresteia By Aeschylus

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The Oresteia is a trilogy written by the Greek author Aeschylus that comprises of three plays; Agamemnon, the libation bearers, and the Eumenides. The central theme of this book is “justice” which in the case of Orestes has led to exile. This book was written at a time when the star of Athens was in decline. It was a time that marked the establishment of a new socio- political order, a democracy adjudicated by the rule of law. This rule of law meant the institutionalization of justice (i.e. having a justice system), where cases are heard and verdicts are being reached based on evidence. Justice shifted from been a personal vendetta or responsibility to been the responsibility of the state set down by the laws of the state. These represented a more democratic society, which was more modern. Literature as a whole is a direct representation of human existence and the beauty of the Greek drama is that it is portrayed in front of an audience, and as the words are being spoken the audience can directly relate and comprehend the actions of the characters. Hence, the theme of exile of Orestes in the Eumenides in the third part of the Oresteia is a lot more than alienating him from the rest of the world - it becomes a stepping stone for him to break free from political and social strife, question laws and believes that have been set down for many years and, bestow a new power upon himself and his society under a new form of justice.
The Greek custom of exile was known as Ostracism.
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