My Reflection of the Oresteia 9/10/2021
The Oresteia is a three part play written by Aeschylus, around 500B.C. "The Oresteia is a play showing the difference between revenge and justice and how there is a very fine line in between those two."(Anderson, 2019) "Agamemnon wanted a war with Troy; the problem was he couldn't transport his army. The gods made a deal with him, if he sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia the gods would promise safe passage for his armies and a great victory in Troy. Desperate for victory and fame he took the deal and killed his daughter. When his wife Clytemnestra heard about this terrible act she prayed to the gods that Agamemnon be protected in battle so she could take his life when he got back. After 10 years of war Agamemnon returned with fame and glory. His people called him a hero. His wife however was ready for revenge for their daughter. So she bathed Agamemnon, wrapped him in linens, and then killed him with a knife. She also killed one of Apollos priestess Cassandra. Both of these deaths angered Apollo and he sought revenge. He brought Orestes, son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, home to kill his own mother, who was sitting on his throne with another man. So Orestes, backed and persuaded by Apollo, kills Clytemnestra and her new husband. But the cycle continues with the Furies seeking revenge on Orestes for killing his own mother. So Orestes goes to Athena's temple and begs for her to protect him. Instead she sets up a jury of the smartest men she could find to vote on his fate. When they find him innocent the furies are forced to leave him alone and the cycle of revenge is broken." Cite for whole paragraph:(Aeschylus & Collard, 2002)
"This play shows the importance of a justice system rather than just individual's seeking revenge."(Anderson, 2019) The Oresteia really focuses on how the cycle of revenge will never stop until everyone is dead. This is why a jury of intelligent people was needed to determine the fate of Orestes so the deaths would stop. Aeschylus presents a very clear argument for this new form of government for Greece. "It set up a jury in Greece that was 500 people and each trial was on a specific time limit."(World History Education) This ensured both parties got to give their side of the story. This jury set of the basis for early democracy and law for future civilizations to copy. This was 2500 years ago and we are still using his ideas in America with our own justice system. Which has its flaws but is the best system so far, this proves Aeschylus was on to something.
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Justice in The Oresteia," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/justice-in-the-oresteia/.
World History Education. (n.d.). Ancient Greece Jury. Ancient Greece jury. Retrieved September 10, 2021, from http://world-history-education-resources.com/ancient-greece/jury-greece-ancient.html#:~:text=In%20Ancient%20Greece%2C%20the%20normal%20size%20of%20a,Carta%20and%20early%20American%20and%20California%20judicial%20systems.
Aeschylus, & Collard, C. (2002). Oresteia. Oxford Univ. Press.
Underlying ideas of Cassandra By:Christa Wolf 9/23/2021
"Cassandra was first written in 1898 by Evelyn De Morgan and has since been rewritten multiple times to introduce underlying ideas." The underlying themes Cassandra written by: Christa Wolf had were related to the time and the place she lived. She identified problems in society and showed us through literature that women had been treated poorly for thousands of years, and it was about time women were respected and treated as equals. She recognized these problems while living in East Germany in the 1980's, and was a member of Germany's socialist party. She not only used Cassandra to advocate for women's rights but also separate her socialist party from communist East Germany. Who she opposed and received major backlash from East Germany for doing this.
The backlash did not stop her from writing Cassandra, which was written through the perspective of Cassandra, King Priam's daughter who became a priest for Apollo. "She was cursed by Apollo, she could see the future, but if she told anyone they wouldn't believe her." I think Wolf uses her ability to see but not be believed as an example of the patriarchal political structure not giving women a voice in anything. Which will come back to bite King Priam, Troy, Agamemnon, Cassandra and others later in the novel. Other examples of this in the novel is when she warned King Priam of the fall of Troy. "He was so set on war and steered away from the matriarchal society Troy had by not waging war for a long time." In his one decision driven by his toxic patriarchy this lead to the fall of Troy. I think this teaches us the same lesson that women need a voice in the government to keep the men in government in check. This also showed me why women deserve to be respected and treated equal because the decisions made in politics affect everyone in a way not just men.
Another theme shown is how women were looked down upon as lesser even if they held a high position in society. Cassandra was royalty and when she was taken with Agamemnon, she warned the elders about Clytemnestra killing him. "The elders didn't believe her because she was a women and held a lower spot in society even though she was royalty in Troy." "In the end she became another casualty of a patriarchal system that doesn't believe women are equal." These are just a few of the underlying themes in Christa Wolf's Cassandra, the list goes on and on. I would recommend this book because of the thought ideas and the clarity in which they are expressed throughout the book.
De Morgan Collection. (2015). Cassandra - Evelyn De Morgan - Google Arts & Culture. Google. Retrieved September 26, 2021, from https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/cassandra/WgFSYLyOA55QMQ.
Unknown. (2015, May 6). Cassandra. enotes.com. Retrieved September 17, 2021, from https://www.enotes.com/topics/cassandra#:~:text=Christa%20Wolf%E2%80%99s%20novel%20about%20the%20aftermath%20of%20the,Agamemnon%2C%20Cassandra%20renounces%20her%20status%20as%20Apollo%E2%80%99s%20priestess
Unknown, U. (2016, April 18). Idols in Christa Wolf's Cassandra Topics: Greek mythology, Love, woman, Euripides, marriage, trojan war / pages: 3 (620 words) / published: APR 18th, 2016. Studymode. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from https://www.studymode.com/essays/Idols-In-Christa-Wolfs-Cassandra-85862220.html.
Wolf, C. (2011). Cassandra. Edizioni e/o.
Difference between Oresteia and House Of Names By: Colm Tóibín
What The Lost Books of the Odyssey's stories teach us.
Circe- Madeline Miller