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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 Notes

8 Pages
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Department
Classical Studies
Course Code
CLAA06H3
Professor
Jessica Higgins

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16-Mar-11
CLAA06
Lecture 9
Other possible topics for test:
myths in tragedy and their political overtones
feminism in the study and reinterpretation of classical myth
Politics and Tragedy
tragedies were plays which were put on as part of festivals in Athens; all Athenians could
attend, even women
they celebrates Athenian civic ideology—freedom, institution of democracy (they wanted
to be ruled by themselves)
the tragedies presented individuals cities or families which either positively or negatively
represent these ideals—could be a negative or positive example—negative= this is why
the ideals were put into place
Major tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles
The Orestia
Agamemnons return to either Argos or Mycenae
his murder by his wife Clytemnestra
his son exacting revenge
First of the plays in the orestia: Agamemnon
he would be looking for a reception, as a returning king
while he was away, his wife was mad at him for having sacrificed his daughter so that
they would have good weather on the way to Troy
she also had an affair with As cousin, Aegisthus
once he comes home, C welcomes him and asked him to step on the purple robe
www.notesolution.com
16-Mar-11
A at first refuses to do this—might have something to do with the colour purple—in
Greece, purple was a colour of rich people and if you didnt have money, you couldnt
afford this dye; he did not want to portray himself as the ruler of Greece
but he does walk on it—he realizes the symbolism and richness
purple used for gods—by walking on it, he is putting himself above the gods
no one has come to a solid conclusion about this
Ae and C kill Agamemnon
Quote: Speaker: Clytemnestra; rich robes= the purple carpet; old quarrel= killing the
daughter
Second: Aeschylus’ Choephoriox
As son is removed—usually happens when the king dies—this progeny will not challenge
the new ruler
sent him to Phocis
he decides to ask the oracle
oracle orders Orestes to return and avenge his father
while O is there, C has a bad dream, that she is giving birth to a viper, who will bite her
she thinks that her dead husband is sending this to her
she sends her daughter Electra and libations to his grave, to sacrifice the libations in order
to appease his angry spirit
at the grave, Electra finds her brother—together they plan to kill C and Ae, who have now
taken over the throne
O will dress as a messenger to tell of his own death
he does this, and they are happy about this
Quote: Speaker: Orestes
tyrants is important for this passage
Third: Eumenides
www.notesolution.com
16-Mar-11
furies, avenging spirits of dead family, come to pursue O
O seeks protection at Delphi, from Apollo
Apollo realizes that he cant help—orders O back to Athens to seek justice
Ompholos (?)—rock at Delphi; centre of the world; greek word for bellybutton; spirit of
C and her avenging furie
mock Athenian trial—furies= prosecutors; O= defendant
furies relying on old law, that blood must be paid by blood
O is claiming that he has been purified by Apollo
Furies say that w/o these ancient laws, everyone would be killing their parents so as to
gain control of their power
O argues that C was not persecuted for killing A
Furies say that A and O did not share blood, not blood relatives
Apollo says that the murder of a king is not equal to the murder of an adulterous woman;
he also says that children are the blood of their father, so he did not really kill someone of
his own blood—like Athena
Athena gets the last word, because she is the patron deity of the city
SEE QUOTE by Athena
O is acquitted
Why is the play calledthe kindly ones
at the end of the play, Athena tries to appease the furies and so she gives them a place to
be worshipped—they become the kindly ones or the eumenides
floating figures in picture= ghost of C
political overtones of this trilogy: A is murdered as revenge for daughter’s death—this is
the archaic/ ancient way of thinking—eye for an eye—contrasting the Athenians rigid
law system—what not to do
www.notesolution.com

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Description
16-Mar-11 CLAA06 Lecture 9 Other possible topics for test: myths in tragedy and their political overtones feminism in the study and reinterpretation of classical myth Politics and Tragedy tragedies were plays which were put on as part of festivals in Athens; all Athenians could attend, even women they celebrates Athenian civic ideologyfreedom, institution of democracy (they wanted to be ruled by themselves) the tragedies presented individuals cities or families which either positively or negatively represent these idealscould be a negative or positive examplenegative= this is why the ideals were put into place Major tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles The Orestia Agamemnons return to either Argos or Mycenae his murder by his wife Clytemnestra his son exacting revenge First of the plays in the orestia: Agamemnon he would be looking for a reception, as a returning king while he was away, his wife was mad at him for having sacrificed his daughter so that they would have good weather on the way to Troy she also had an affair with As cousin, Aegisthus once he comes home, C welcomes him and asked him to step on the purple robe www.notesolution.com
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