Presentation on theme: "Odyssey 1 Zeus speaking: “ Even as now Aegisthus, beyond what was ordained, took to himself the wedded wife of the son of Atreus, and slew him on his."— Presentation transcript:
Odyssey 1 Zeus speaking: “ Even as now Aegisthus, beyond what was ordained, took to himself the wedded wife of the son of Atreus, and slew him on his return, though well he knew of sheer destruction, since we spoke to him before, sending Hermes, the keen-sighted Argeiphontes, that he should neither slay the man nor woo his wife;  for from Orestes shall come vengeance (tisis) for the son of Atreus when once he has come to manhood and longs for his own land. So Hermes spoke, but for all his good intent he prevailed not upon the heart of Aegisthus; and now he has paid the full price of all.”
Odyssey 5 Aegisthus straightway planned a treacherous device.  He chose out twenty men, the best in the land, and set them to lie in wait, but on the further side of the hall he bade prepare a feast. Then he went with chariot and horses to summon Agamemnon, shepherd of the people, his mind pondering a dastardly deed. So he brought him up all unaware of his doom,  and when he had feasted him he slew him, as one slays an ox at the stall. And not one of the comrades of the son of Atreus was left, of all that followed him, nor one of the men of Aegisthus, but they were all slain in the halls.’ book 11 “Aegisthus wrought for me death and fate,  and slew me with the aid of my accursed wife, when he had bidden me to his house and made me a feast, even as one slays an ox at the stall. So I died by a most pitiful death, and round about me the rest of my comrades were slain unceasingly like white-tusked swine, which are slaughtered in the house of a rich man of great might  at a marriage feast, or a joint meal, or a rich drinking-bout.” Menelaus Ag. 617, Helen 687
Aristotle’s Poetics and ScapegoatingRené Girard Plots (mythoi) in tragedy Poetics 13 1452b the structure of the best tragedy should be not simple but complex and one that represents incidents arousing fear and pity... pity for the undeserved misfortune, fear for the man like ourselves. Oedipus and hamartia Poetics 14 1453b-4a The worst of these is to intend the action with full knowledge and not to perform it; that is offensive and is not tragic, for there is no suffering. So nobody does that, except occasionally, as, for instance, Haemon and Creon in the Antigone. Next worst is the doing of the deed. It is better to act in ignorance and discover afterwards. It is not offensive and the discovery is startling. Best of all is the last; in the Cresphontes, for instance, Merope intends to kill her son and does not kill him but discovers; and in the Iphigenia the case of the sister and brother
Aeschylus’ OresteiaAgamemnonChoephoroiEumenides 458 BC trilogy male-female 11 Thus commands a masculine-willed heart of a woman in strength of purpose. 348 Such are the thoughts you hear from me, a woman merely. 351 My lady, no grave man could speak with better grace. 483 It is like a woman to take the rapture before the fact has shown true. 592 “How like a woman, for the heart to lift so light.” Men spoke like that. 917 Do not try in woman’s ways to make me delicate. 940 Surely this lust for conflict is not womanlike? 1231 This is daring when the female shall strike down the male. 1636 Clearly the deception was the woman’s part.
kingship-tyranny basileus-tyrannos 19 I pity the this house of ours, not worked for the best as in days gone by. 828 A wild and bloody lion swarmed above the towers of Troy to glut its hunger lapping at the blood of kings (tyrants). 905 And now, I pray you, my dear lord, dismount from your car, but do not set on common earth the foot, my King, that has trampled upon Ilium. 1355 Their opening act marks a plan to set up a tyranny in the State. 1365 Death is a softer thing by far than tyranny. The people astoi, politai, demos 458 Dangerous is a people's voice charged with wrath — it acts as a curse of publicly ratified doom. 809 you will learn in time which of your citizens have been just in the city’s sway, which were reckless. 844 Now in the business of the city and the gods we must ordain full conclave of citizens 938 And yet a people's voice is a mighty power. 1639 with his gold I shall endeavor to control the citizens. 1408 you have taken upon yourself this maddened rage and the loud curses voiced by the public?  You have cast him off; you have cut him off; and out from the land shall you be cast, a burden of hatred to your people.
the will of Zeus:pathei mathos 176 Zeus, who sets mortals on the path to understanding, Zeus, who has established as a fixed law that “wisdom comes by suffering”... Against our pleasure we are temperate; from the gods who sit in grandeur grace comes somehow violent. Robert Kennedy the justice of Zeusdike 28 occurrences in Ag. Justice = vengeance 1564 the doer must suffer; for it is law. 464-6 The black furies stalking the man fortunate beyond all right wrench back again the set of his life and drop him into darkness. 250 Justice so moves that those only learn who suffer Robert Kennedy
Hunting and Sacrifice 48 Their cry of war went shrill from the heart, as eagles stricken in agony for young perished. 114 Kings of birds to the kings of the ships, one black, one blazed with silver... Tore a hare, ripe, bursting with young unborn yet. 1395 Were it pious to pour wine above the slain, this man deserved, more than deserved, such sacrament. 1417 he slaughtered like a victim his own child.
Iphigenia  For, in her pity, holy Artemis is angry at the winged hounds of her father, for they sacrifice a wretched timorous thing, together with her young, before she has brought them forth. An abomination to her is the eagles' feast. For there abides wrath —  terrible, not to be suppressed, a treacherous guardian of the home, a wrath that never forgets and that exacts vengeance for a child. 206 It is a hard fate to refuse obedience, and hard, if I must slay my child, the beauty of my home, and at the altar-side stain  a father's hand with streams of virgin's blood. Which of these courses is not filled with evil? How can I become a deserter to my fleet and fail my allies in arms?  For that they should by anger over-angrily crave a sacrifice to lull the winds — even a virgin's blood — stands within their right. May all be for the best.
Clytemnnestra to Chorus: Fire Signal 281-316 Now if they keep clear of guilt towards the gods of the town — those of the conquered land — and towards their shrines,  the captors shall not be made captives in their turn. Only may no mad impulse first assail the army, overmastered by greed, to pillage what they should not! Then you had nothing to urge against him that lies here. And yet he,  valuing no more than if it had been a beast that perished — though sheep were plenty in his fleecy folds — he sacrificed his own child, she whom I bore with dearest travail, to charm the gusts of Thrace.  Yet, as he has suffered — worthy prize of worthy deed — for what he did to my sweet flower, shoot sprung from him, the sore-wept Iphigenia.
fraternal rivalry between Atreus and Thyestes For from this roof never departs a choir chanting in unison, but singing no harmonious tune; for it tells not of good. And so, gorged on human blood, so as to be the more emboldened, a revel-rout of kindred Furies haunts the house,  hard to be driven away. Lodged within its halls they chant their chant, the primal sin; and, each in turn, they spurn with loathing a brother's bed, for they bitterly spurn the one who defiled it. 1242 Chorus: Thyestes' banquet on his children's flesh I understood, and I tremble. Chorus: By force  amid streams of kindred blood black Havoc presses on to where he shall grant vengeance for the gore of children served for meat. Aegisthus Now that, to my joy, I behold this man lying here in a robe spun by the Avenging Spirits and making full payment for the deeds contrived in craft by his father's hand. For Atreus, lord of this land, this man's father, challenged in his sovereignty, drove forth, from city and from home, Thyestes.
Deception Give this message to my husband:  let him come with all speed, his country's fond desire, come to find at home his wife faithful, even as he left her, a watchdog of his house, loyal to him, a foe to those who wish him ill; yes, for the rest, unchanged in every part;  in all this length of time never having broken any seal. Of pleasure from any other man or of scandalous repute I know no more than of dyeing bronze. 855 Citizens of Argos, you Elders present here, I shall not be ashamed to confess in your presence my fondness for my husband — with time diffidence dies away in humans.
The carpet I have assigned the task to strew with tapestries the place where he shall go?  Quick! With purple let his path be strewn, that Justice may usher him into a home he never hoped to see. For the rest, pamper me not as a woman, nor, as if I were some barbarian,  grovel before me with wide-mouthed acclaim; and do not draw down envy upon my path by strewing it with tapestries. It is the gods we must honor thus; but it is not possible for a mortal to tread upon embroidered fineries without fear.  I tell you to revere me not as a god, but as a man. 946 As I walk upon these purple vestments may I not be struck from afar by any glance of the gods' jealous eye.
Cassandra Clytemnaestra:  But if, failing to understand, you do not catch my meaning, then, instead of speech, make a sign with your barbarian hand. Chorus: I think that she is about to prophesy about her own miseries. The divine gift still abides even in the soul of one enslaved.
Cassandra The seer Apollo appointed me to this office. Chorus  Can it be that he, a god, was smitten with desire? Cassandra Oh, but he struggled to win me, breathing ardent love for me. Chorus Did you in due course come to the rite of marriage? Cassandra I consented to Loxias but broke my word. Chorus  Were you already possessed by the art inspired of the god? Cassandra Already I prophesied to my countrymen all their disasters. Chorus How came it then that you were unharmed by Loxias' wrath? Cassandra Ever since that fault I could persuade no one of anything.
Assassination Chorus:  Why does this terror so persistently hover standing before my prophetic soul? Cassandra: This two-footed lioness, who mates with a wolf in the absence of the noble lion,  will slay me, miserable as I am. Brewing as it were a drug, she vows that with her wrath she will mix requital for me too, while she whets her sword against her husband, to take murderous vengeance for bringing me here. Clytemnestra: Fallen thus, he gasped away his life, and as he breathed forth quick spurts of blood,  he struck me with dark drops of gory dew; while I rejoiced no less than the sown earth is gladdened in heaven's refreshing rain at the birth time of the flower buds.
Orestes Our boy, Orestes, does not stand here beside me, as he should — he in whom rest the pledges of my love and yours. Nor should you think this strange.  For he is in the protecting care of our well-intentioned ally, Strophius of Phocis, who warned me of trouble on two scores — your own peril beneath Ilium's walls, and then the chance that the people in clamorous revolt might overturn the Council, as it is natural  for men to trample all the more upon the fallen. Chorus  It would not be like men of Argos to cringe before a man as low as you. Aegisthus Ha! I will visit you with vengeance yet in days to come. Chorus Not if fate shall guide Orestes to return home.
David Cohen, “The Theodicy of Aeschylus: Justice and Tyranny in the Oresteia,” in I. McAuslan and P. Walcot (eds), Greek Tragedy (Oxford 1993), pp. 45-57. p. 45 “ Aeschylus portrays a cosmic and political order which is neither moral nor just, but rather tyrannical, in the sense that its ultimate foundations are force and fear. ” p. 47 “ rejection of the preconception that Aeschylus must be pious and Zeus must be just... He chose to emphasize so strongly the innocent suffering which the justice of Zeus produces.” p. 54 “justice as the right of the stronger”, p. 55 “persuasion and compulsion, backed by fear and force.”
Prologos Pythia 39 I saw on the center-stone a man defiled in the eyes of the gods, occupying the seat of suppliants. His hands were dripping blood; he held a sword just drawn and an olive- branch, from the top of the tree, decorously crowned with a large tuft of wool, a shining fleece; for as to this I can speak clearly. Before this man an extraordinary band of women slept, seated on thrones. Apollo 71 They were even born for evil, since they live in evil gloom and in Tartarus under the earth, creatures hateful to men and to the Olympian gods. 78 When you have come to Pallas' city, sit down and hold in your arms her ancient image. And there, with judges of your case and speeches of persuasive charm, we shall find means to release you completely from your labors. For I persuaded you to take your mother's life. 92 Zeus reveres this reverence (sebas) of outlaws (eknomoi wanderers). Clytaemestra 99 I tell you that I have greatest guilt (aitia) under their view (the dead). 101 No divine power is angry on my behalf, slaughtered as I have been by the hands of a matricide. 120 You are too drowsy and do not pity my suffering.
Parodos 143-178 153-4 Although you are a god, you have stolen away a man that killed his mother. What is there here that anyone shall call just? 179-253episode 199 You are not partially guilty (metaitios) of this deed; you alone have done it all, and are wholly guilty (panaitios). Aitia = cause 212 But what about a wife who kills her husband? -That would not be murder of a relative by blood. 216 Marriage ordained by fate for a man and a woman is greater than an oath and guarded by Justice. 224 The goddess Pallas will oversee the pleadings (dikai) in this case. 233 The wrath of the one who seeks purification is terrible among mortals and gods.
254-275 Epiparodos (in Athens) 259 His arms twisted around the image of the immortal goddess, he wishes to be tried for his debt. But that is not possible; a mother's blood upon the earth is hard to recover — alas, the liquid poured on the ground is gone. But you must allow me in return to suck the red blood from your living limbs. 280 The pollution of matricide is washed away; while it was still fresh, it was driven away at the hearth of the god Phoebus by purifying sacrifices of swine. 303 You who are fattened and consecrated to me, living, you will provide my feast, not slain at an altar 307-396 1st Stasimon 312 We claim to be directly just (euthydikaioi). 315 Whoever sins, as this man has, and hides his blood-stained hands, as avengers of bloodshed we appear against him to the end, presenting ourselves as upright witnesses (martures) for the dead. 359 We are eager to remove from everyone these concerns, and by our responsibilities to establish exemption (ateleia) for the gods, and not to go to trial (anakrisis). 389 What mortal, then, does not stand in awe and fear of this, when he hears from me an institution (thesmos) established by fate, given fulfilled (teleios) by the gods?
397-489 interview by Athena 421 We drive murderers from their homes. - And where is the end of flight (phugê) for the killer? Where grace (charis) is nowhere the custom (nomos). 428Two parties are present; only half the case is heard. -But he will not receive an oath nor does he want to give one. You want to be called just rather than to act justly. 433 Well then, test him, and try a straight judgment. Then would you turn over the completion (telos) of the charge (aitia) to me? 436 What do you want to respond to this, stranger? After you name your country and family and fortunes, defend yourself against this complaint; if indeed, relying on the justice of your case, you sit clinging to my image near my hearth, as a sacred suppliant, like Ixion. To all this give me a plain answer. 463 I killed the woman who gave birth to me, I will not deny it, as the penalty in return for the murder of my dearly-loved father. With me Loxias is co-cause of this deed, because he threatened me with pains. 468You, make trial of justice whether I (killed) justly or not.
470It is not lawful even for me to discern cases of murder, which involves quick anger. 474 I respect (aidoumai) you, since you do not bring harm to my city. 483 I will select judges of homicide bound by oath, and I will establish this ordinance for all time. Summon your witnesses and proofs, sworn safeguards to support your case; and I will return when I have chosen the best of my citizens, for them to decide this matter truly, after they take an oath that they will pronounce no judgment contrary to justice. 2nd Stasimon 490-565 494 His deed will accustom all men to capriciousness (eucheriai). 522 Who, if he did not train his heart in fear, either city or mortal, would still revere justice in the same way? 534 Hybris is child of irreverence. 566-777 Athena 569 While this council-hall is filling, it is good to be silent, and for my ordinances to be learned, by the whole city for everlasting time, and by these also, so that their case may be decided well.
576I have come both to bear witness, for this man was a lawful suppliant and a guest of my sanctuary, and I am his purifier from bloodshed, and to be his co-pleader myself. I have responsibility (aitia) for the murder of his mother. Introduce the case, and, in accordance with your wisdom, have charge of it. 586 Answer our questions, one by one. Say first if you killed your mother. -Of the three falls that win the wrestling match, this one is already ours. -You must, however, say how you killed her. -By whom were you persuaded and on whose advice? 600 She was twice afflicted with pollution. How so? Teach the judges this. By murdering her husband, she killed my father. 619 Learn how strong this plea of justice is; and I tell you to obey the will of my father; for an oath is not more powerful than Zeus. 652 See how you advocate the defense (pheugein) for this man! After he has poured out his mother's blood on the ground, shall he then live in his father's house in Argos? Which of the public altars shall he use? What purification rite of the brotherhoods (phratriai) will receive him?
666For my part, Pallas, as in all other matters, as I know how, I will make your city and people great; and I have sent this man as a suppliant to your sanctuary so that he may be faithful for all time, and that you, goddess, might win him and those to come after him as a new ally 675 Shall I now command these jurors to cast a vote according to their just decision (gnome) ? 681 Hear now my ordinance, people of Attica, as you try the first case for bloodshed. In the future, even as now, this council of judges will always exist for the band of Aegeus.... 688 Here reverence of the people and inborn fear will hold day and night so long as the citizens themselves do not change the laws.... 699 For who among mortals, if he fears nothing, is righteous? Stand in just awe of such reverence, and you will have a defense for your land and salvation of your city, such as no man has, either among the Scythians or in Pelops' realm. I establish this tribunal, untouched by greed, worthy of reverence, sharp in spirit, awake on behalf of those who sleep, a guardian of the land. I have prolonged this advice to my citizens for the future; but now you must rise and take a ballot, and decide the case under the sacred obligation of your oath. My word has been spoken.
734It is my duty to give the final judgment and I shall cast my vote for Orestes. 740 Orestes wins, even if the vote comes out equal. Cast the ballots out of the urns, as quickly as possible, you jurors who have been assigned this task. 3d Stasimon 778-880 900 It seems you will win me by your spells; I am letting go my anger. Choral Exodos 916-end 984 But may they return joy for joy in a spirit of common love, and may they hate with one mind; for this is the cure of many an evil in the world.
Response to Cohen Justice of Zeus: violent grace (biaios charis), collective punishment, privilege of the male, priority of legitimate rule, triumph of Athens/Greece, democratic process, resolution of anger, alliance with Argos fiat iustitia ruat caelum