Second half of the Eumenides
• The trial of Orestes & the play concludes with the appeasement of the furies.
• Two different kinds of justice in this play: 1) private justice 2) public trial
• First takes place at Delphi, then switches to Athens
• There are to generations of gods being referenced here
• The gift of Catharses
• The Furies make up two choruses in the Eumenides and are visible to all
• The Furies are depicted as fearsome creatures
• There is a purging of emotions at Orestes’ acquittal
• Catharses are purging of fear
• Page 98, choral ode: opening stanza. The new ordinances are the laws that are being
put forth by Apollo and Athena, Apollo claiming Orestes had his permission to commit
matricide. When Apollo addresses this, the Furies think their role is being undermined.
• The Furies think there is going to be disaster in society if their old ways are destroyed
• Page 101: Apollo enters the scene and says his involvement in the case. He states how
Orestes is his suppliant and Apollo will act as his defence counsel, Athena as judge, and
Furies as plaintiff. Orestes is the defendant; the citizens of Athens are the jury.
• Orestes admits to killing his mom and being influenced by Apollo
• He also says how his sister and he ask for assistance from his father beyond the grave.
• Orestes asks the Furies why they did not drive Clytemnestra away when she killed
Agamemnon, page 102
• The Furies respond by saying how they don’t punish people who kill their spouses since
there is no blood relationship there, but there is in matricide and patricide.
• Is this play sexist? Patriarchal? The arguments Apollo advocates: line 615: page 102:
Apollo is appealing to Zeus as his ultimate authority. Ultimately Apollo claims how
Clytemnestra’s blood was justly shed due to a patriarchal view. It is more horrific for a
woman to kill a man of noble birth than a man killing a woman.
• Page 103: The nature of parenthood seems very patriarchal. The woman is a passive
figure for the embryo. • Athena herself is born from Zeus’ head. Apollo is appealing to this myth and is claiming
how it is possible to have a child with no mother.
• Page 103, line 680: The first murder trial in mythical history. Historically there were 3
murder trials before Aeschylus’ time.
• The jurors begin to file in where the caster votes after everyone has given their
• An altercation ensues between Apollo and the Furies during this time.
• Page 105: line 781: Athena appeals to the same idea Apollo made of her birth. She says
how she approves the masculine of everything. This shows the sexist nature of ancient
• Both Apollo and Athena ar