“If you want peace, work for justice.” – Pope Paul VI. The Oresteia trilogy, which contains the plays Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Furies, uses justice as its dominant theme. Aeschylus wrote these plays sometime after the end of the Persian wars, around 449 BC, when the star of Athens was on its superiority. It was the commencement of a new era, marked by the establishment of a new social and political order built on democracy and the rule of law. The rule of law designed the institutionalization of justice. Justice was not a personal responsibility to be handed out according to the rule of family dispute of blood for blood anymore. It was now a state responsibility representing the community as a whole that the law was set down. It was an advancement in the direction of realizing a more peaceful and orderly existence. Though, this institutionalization of justice was also an advancement in the
The concept of justice is manifested through the three plays of Aeschylus' Oresteia. The old tradition of justice, the private blood feud, caused an ungoverned succession of violent acts that spiralled uncontrollably. Aegisthus, Clytemnestra's lover, is introduced in Agamemnon; he desires vengeance for the plot contrived by Agamemnon's father (Ag: 1605-1611).1 Neither Agamemnon nor Aegisthus took part in this "plot" and yet as the chorus explains (Ag: 755-6)
As a defender of civic virtue, the significance of obligation and authority of one’s representative government epitomizes the magnitude of respect that Socrates had for Athenian Jurisprudence, irrespective of the fact that he was prosecuted against. In the accounts of the Apology and Crito, there exists a plethora of evidence that demonstrate Socrates’s adherence of institutionalized authority. His loyalty of the Athenian State derives from his notion that the obligation to surrender to the law manifests a just society. One may ask, “how is it possible for a persecuted man to continue to profess allegiance to a polity that sought his trial and execution”? Though many would not have the capacity to sustain such integrity, Socrates had his reasons in
The old Greek and Roman realms are two cases of where insubordinate activities now give a premise to advanced law. From the Greeks, we have come to know the narrative of Socrates by Plato, and the Roman age was the season of St. Perpetua, an early Christian lady. The destiny of those people is comparable – a capital punishment passed on by the general public they lived in. In spite of the fact that the closure of their lives is comparable, the distinctions that lie in the reasoning of their demise are more unpredictable, with key variables influencing their individual pre-predetermined future. In this, we will see, these elements influence their connections to the states and time periods in which they existed.
Plato’s account of Socrates’ defense against charges of corrupting the youth and heresy, reveal the ancient teacher’s view of justice as fairness and support of rule of law. In the Apology, Socrates faces a moral dilemma: to either accept his punishment for crimes he did not commit or to accept the assistance of his friends and escape death by the hand of the state. His choice to accept death in order to maintain rule of law reveals his belief of justice. He beliefs his punishment to be just not because he committed the crimes but because his sentence came through a legal process to which he consented. By sparing his life, he would weaken the justice system of Athens which he values above his own existence. This difference between the two men’s beliefs regarding justice draws the sharpest contrast in their views of effective leadership and government.
In the trilogy Oresteia, the issues concerned are the transformation from vengeance to law, from chaos to peace, from dependence to independence, and from old to new. These four significant changes all take place throughout the play and are somewhat parallel to the transformations that were going on in Ancient Greece.
A reading of Thucydides’, Pericles’ Funeral Oration and The Melian Dialogue uncovers both contrasting and comparable viewpoints on Athenian politics, power, aims of war, and empire. Thucydides presents two differing characteristics of Athens, one as the civilizer in Pericles’ funeral oration and the other as an tyrant in the Melian dialogue. In the funeral oration delivered by Pericles during the first year of the war, the Athenian leader emphasizes the idealized personal image of the Athenians in regard to their constitution and good character. Pericles goes on to praise the Athenian democratic institution of Athens that contributes to their cities greatness; in Pericles’s own words, “The Athenian administration favors the many instead of few… they afford equal justice to all of their differences” (112, 2.37). This quote emphasizes the good character of the Athens’ to coax and encourage the Athenians to preserve and better their great empire into the future. On the other hand, in the Melian dialogue, this notion of justice and equality is irrelevant; one, because Athens compared to Melos, is the stronger of the two and thus, is more powerful. Further, Athens, will continue to acquire absolute power and build its empire by conquering Melos and whomever else stands in its way. Through Pericles’ funeral oration and the Melian dialogue, the following conclusions/themes will demonstrate both the changing and somewhat stable nature of Athenian policy with regards to empire,
Justice in the Oresteia Justice is often taken for granted in the world we live in today with a judicial system that gives fair punishment for most crimes. In the Oresteia justice works much differently, where there are no judges or a court system to resolve disputes, instead there is revenge. Revenge is very messy because somebody will and has to get hurt first to desire revenge, and it leads to a cycle that cannot and will not end until everybody is dead. Justice does not and cannot only be revenge because in the end nobody would be left in that system. Aeschylus' Oresteia focuses on revenge as justice, with the old system that no longer works and that someone must fix, and a new system that has
“The Oresteia” written by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus, who showed three events of the play Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides. The three plays were performed at the annual Dionysia festival in Athens in 458 BCE. The play highlighted different types of themes but the most important one is the theme of justice and injustice. Both themes were seen in different parts of the play where even the gods played a role in determining the justice and injustice in the play. Justice is also divided into two types in the play as human and divine justice. This essay will talk about both justice, and injustice in the play, and the different parts of justice.
From the beginning, the character of Agamemnon appears as a courageous warrior and grand which destroys the heroically powerful army as well as Troy. However, at the outset, we learn to know Agamemnon as a person who has changed the winds to go to Troy, at the price of the sacrifice of his own daughter,
Orestes' right to avenge the dishonorable death of his father was upheld by the court. The jury system deemed Clytemnestra's actions wrong and Orestes' just. With the establishment of Athena's judicial system, there is now a method to prosecute people like Clytemnestra, such that the ancient blood-lust of vengeance doesn't take rule over issues of right and wrong. The city has now learned to live with new, democratic law; justice will be determined by polis because they are affected by it, and they are the only ones who can deliver fair
In the Oresteia there seems to be a continuing cycle of revenge. Someone is murdered and then a relative must kill the murderer, therefore becoming a murderer himself. A new chosen one is then selected to take revenge on that person who killed before him and the cycle goes on and on. The furies also play a part in this cycle of revenge. They seek out those who kill their blood relatives and haunt them and torture them for eternity. So basically they also take revenge for the ones that have been murdered. Revenge is a continuing theme throughout the play until Athena has a hand in making it come to an end.
Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis provides important context regarding the sacrifice of Iphigenia and Clytemnestra’s past with Agamemnon. Clytemnestra is ashamed after talking to Achilles about the wedding between him and Iphigenia that he is unaware of. After discovering Agamemnon 's true intentions, she decides that she will no longer “let shame prevent” her from seeking Achilles’ help to stop Agamemnon because “whose interests should [she] consult before [her] child’s?” (Iphigenia at Aulis 24). Her concern for Iphigenia overpowers the indignity she feels because her child’s well being is greater than her own. Both women’s anger and desire for vengeance grow as their children are endangered or harmed as “vengeance makes grief bearable” (Medea 2.55). The playwrights show each as either a good or bad woman based on if their vengeful actions are ultimately in favor of their children or not.
Cassandra walks fearfully into the palace, then the chorus hears Agamemnon’s cry for help. After some deliberation of what to do, they go into the palace only to see Clytemnestra over the dead bodies of Agamemnon and Cassandra. Clytemnestra tells that the reason for this seemingly wrong act was to do justice for Agamemnon sacrificing their daughter. Clytemnestra’s lover and partner in crime, Aegisthus, enters the palace with an armed bodyguard and justifies his part in the crime. He tells of Atreus’, Agamemnon’s father, sinful act against Thyestes, Aegisthus’ father.
The position Thrasymachus takes on the definition of justice, as well as its importance in society, is one far differing from the opinions of the other interlocutors in the first book of Plato’s Republic. Embracing his role as a Sophist in Athenian society, Thrasymachus sets out to aggressively dispute Socrates’ opinion that justice is a beneficial and valuable aspect of life and the ideal society. Throughout the course of the dialogue, Thrasymachus formulates three major assertions regarding justice. These claims include his opinion that “justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger,” “it is just to obey the rulers,” and “justice is really the good of another […] and harmful to the one who obeys and serves.” Socrates