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Lecture 7

HUM 102W Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Ancient Greek, Clytemnestra, The Sequence


Department
Humanities
Course Code
HUM 102W
Professor
Alessandra Capperdoni
Lecture
7

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HUM 102W Lecture 7
June 20, 2019
Continuation from last lecture
The importance of Cassandra
o Sounds and cries have meanings in the Ancient Greek language
o Emotions that cannot be articulated by language itself
o Language is a system of conventions that one internalizes from an early age
and throughout life
o Humans are much more complication than the language system
o The deep pain Cassandra is feeling because the War on Troy has ended, the
city has been erased, she has been raped in the temple of Athens
o Cassandra has been punished by the God Apollo bound to never be believed
The nature of a prophecy it’s murky
o These works are meant to be connected to the spectator in a bodily sense
o When Cassandra starts speaking, she is not believed by the chorus either
o Prophecy about Orestes
She is not believed and taken very literally in her words
o What type of frameworks are we supposed to take on when in the
interpretation of events?
Example of first nations interpreting the voices in the forest
ecological disaster
Murder of Agamemnon and Cassandra
o Strong sexual elements that are implied in this scene
o A gender reversal
Women belonged to the sphere of emotions
Arguing was a behavior attributed to men
o She has surpassed the boundaries of gender roles pertaining to women the
audience would find this shocking at the time the play are presented
Clytemnestra’s argument against the chorus – what where the circumstances? He did
not have any other choice. But she argues that he did have a choice. She’s clearly
stating that he should take responsibility for his actions and to stop blaming Helen.
o The play write is removed from any judgment the audience will have to
debate and arrive at their own decision
o The theme of justice what is justice?
Is it revenge?
Are we not falling back into a loop where justice is never achieved due
to revenge?
Society of revenge turns into a society that is more rational
An important reformation in the justice system was enforced when the
play was written
The political structure was changed ties through territory instead of
ties through blood (family)
Tied to a sense of nationhood
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Today’s society has a dimension of retribution
Oresteia II and II: Libation Bearers and Eumenides
The three plays are intricately bound together
o The play can never be considered as a single entity and should be understood
as a larger whole
Oresteia
o The trilogy represent a dramatic unity
o The sequence needs to be respected
o Because it addresses the question of justice and the responsibility of the
individual, philosophical questions arise
o Sets the stage for philosophical analysis later on
o Orestes will become a haunting presence for Odysseus
The son of Agamemnon
o Dichotomous aspect of Greek culture: drama of the family, the city, and he
concept of the law
Polis vs. oikos
Libation bearers
o A shift of scenery the unity of place, time, and topic of action relates only to
individual plays
o The chorus of women Clytemnestra has a very important role in this place
Prologue and parodos
o The chorus is incomplete
o Orestes comes back to Argos in order to take revenge upon his mother
because his father has been killed
o Apollo requires for this action to be executed
o Orestes is with a friend, that never speaks (only one line)
o Electra is approaching with an assembly of women the libation bearers
Women that are meant to visit the grave
To appease the dead if the dead are haunting
She is speaking of the ways in which things are not well
Bloody imagery that is almost revengeful
Symbolic representation of the foot print and the hair it is the same
as hers
Helps Orestes with achieving his revenge
What does the evacuation of the female mean? will be discussed in
tutorial
o The notion of justice is repeated constantly
o The double side of justice you have to act to correct a situation, but in doing
so you are also committing a criminal act therefore it never brings a real
closure to the event
o Orestes knows that children killing their parents results in persecution
o The furies are bringing the subject to the verge of madness
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