The Oresteia

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Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2301A/B
Randall Pogorzelski

Text 1 The Oresteia y Trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus y First performed in 458 BCE in Athens y Centered around the House of Atreus y Themes and symbols in Oresteia o Themes1Entanglement y Taming of wild things y Subjugation of the powerful o Troy y Involvement of innocent creaturesPersuasion y FlatteryRecurrent sicknessHateinloveBlood and sexLight in the darkSound of terror in the night o SymbolsSnakes especially vipers and the poison of snakes y Viper who turns against his own family whose mating is murder symbol of hateinlove y Symbol of entanglement spider web also appearsArcherHouseShipGold Agamemnon y First of the three tragedies y Domestic tragedy y Clytemnestra estranged from her husband Agamemnon for murdering their daughter Iphigenia yFor Paris taking Helen wife of Agamemnons brother King of Argos both Greece and Troy suffered out of proportion o Totally destroyed Troy city temples soldiers and defiled women and children enslaved others y Political tragedy o Calchas prophet who tells Agamemnon that Artemis wants him to sacrifice his daughter to change the winds to get to Troy o State will get vengeance for violent acts committed way to completely end violence in domestic matters o Household saved when the state takes over ends the violence o Artemis told Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter o Gods often involved in crime in antiquity
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