Justice In Oresteia

1012 Words5 Pages
In all areas where humans might concern themselves with “examining the facts”, views and perspectives are guaranteed to change. Not only do the perspectives of different “thinkers” change with time, the manners in which these “thinkers” think change as well. When Aeschylus wrote The Oresteia, he had in mind his perspective on the story as it was written. The physiological struggles that the characters go through are all influenced by his take on the world and of human beings themselves. Over time, however, new methods of approaching ideas are developed. In the years after Aeschylus there were many other philosophers who developed their own interpretations of the world and sought to contest the older, original ideas. Socrates was one of those…show more content…
In enacting justice on the nation of Troy, Agamemnon decided that, in order to receive help from the gods, he had to sacrifice his daughter. This then turned around to Clytemnestra, his wife, enacting justice on Agamemnon by killing him. Finally, in a morbid conclusion, their son Orestes enacts justice on Clytemnestra for killing Agamemnon. One thing remained constant in the emotions of the people within this play who were committing murder, that is, their heavy reliance on “the gods”. One who specifically who placed his fate and decisions in the hands of “the gods” nearly entirely was Orestes. He was very submissive in Aeschylus’s depiction and used Apollo as his guiding light. Apollo helped him in providing him the orders to avenge his father’s death, of which Orestes followed with little trouble. Afterwards, however, Orestes began to feel the mental repercussions of his vengeful act. Orestes was being tortured by the Furies who favored Clytemnestra’s point of view. While Orestes was being tortured, he once again, relied heavily on a god, Apollo, to help shield him from the Furies wrath and salve his mind. In a final act of reliance, Orestes depended on Athena, the goddess of wisdom, to omit him of his crimes before a jury, the Furies, and Apollo. Though this provides a legal relief to Orestes, the weight of his decision to kill his own mother is something that will stay with him ‘till death.…show more content…
Some of his largest contemplative work was the assessment of ones virtues. He believed that by default people act based on the knowledge that they have. In following knowledge, emotions will surface and inevitably line up with the beliefs that the person has. Thus this leads to the question of free will. Are we truly having our genuinely own feelings? Or were we predestined to act this way and thus feel? Socrates argues that we are not predestined, that we can have self-control over our emotions and passions and thus lead us to have self-control over our actions. With this in mind Socrates also talks about having this self-control, in that attaining it is based on one’s knowledge/wisdom of the source of conflict, and assessing correctly what action should be taken. In accordance with self-control Socrates is forming an argument for free will. This idea that humans are completely free to do whatever they desire (as long as it’s possible) and completely determine their own destiny is an idea that may have seemed unacceptable to Aeschylus. Socrates might have stated that though Orestes asked for the gods help in the matter, he was in the end, deciding for himself to kill his mother. From Socrates’s argument Orestes would only be fooling himself by letting his emotions conquer his own knowledge and wisdom, allowing him to justify his acts through conforming to the gods.
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