Greek Tregedy Essay

Submitted By sam44444444444444
Words: 1152
Pages: 5

The definition of Justice is as follows “The principle of moral rightness; equity; fairness” In all three plays Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides they talk about justice and its importance. However, after reading through these plays it seems the better fit would be the word revenge: “To seek or take vengeance for (oneself or another person); avenge.” No matter what the circumstances are, being the party who endures a wrongful act, results in your seeking either of these two things: Justice or revenge. In Greek history both of these things were thought to bring “dike” or order, balance and harmony to the world. According to our definitions, Justice would make the killings of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and Aegisthus “right” because it is based on “rules of fairness, ethics, equality and law” where as revenge, on the other hand, refers to an action taken by an individual as a response to a wrongdoing. The question is who decides what is justice and what is revenge and does either really bring “dike” to the world and who determines if it is achieved. Clytemnestra’s character in Agamemnon by Aeschylus can be looked at simply in two ways, guilty and innocent. Clytemnestra did cheat on her husband Agamemnon with his cousin and plan his murder with no mercy just determination and feels no guilt afterwards; in fact she celebrates his death every year. Clytemnestra is a great Queen and ruler but never pays attention to her son and he does not see her as mother figure at all, she also treats her daughter horribly. However Agamemnon did sacrifice their own daughter Iphigenia without her permission. This is the reason for Clytemnestra’s hunger for revenge on her husband, the chorus says in lines 188-192 “At home there tarries like a lurking snake,
Biding its time, a wrath unreconicled,
A wily watcher, passionate to slake,
In blood, resentment for a murdered child.”
Clytemnestra feels he did this for military reasons although Agamemnon claims it was for the Gods. Is that enough reason for Clytemnestra to claim justice and for the Gods to find her innocent? She firmly says to Electra:
“There is no denial in me. Justice,
Justice it was that took him, not I alone.
You would have served the cause of Justice if you had been right-minded.” (.526-9)

Some may argue that her joy was enough to show them that it was more of a personal vengeance rather than a divine cost. If queen Clytemnestra is justified in killing her own husband then the question that must be asked is, is Electra or someone else justified in killing the Queen? Electra says:

“In such a state, my friends, one cannot be moderate and restrained nor pious either.
Evil is all around me, evil is what I am compelled to practice.”( .306-9)
This is a perfect example of an “eye for an eye” mind set, Electra know what has to done to keep dike. This cycle could be never ending, could someone be justified in killing Clytemnestra’s murderer then? Clytemnestra and Electra are both willing to sacrifice themselves in order to bring what they think justice is into the world. The chorus speaks to Clytemnestra:
“You are great in your plans, arrogant in your talk – 
exactly as your mind is mad from this event and the gore which drips from it; the thick smear of blood in your eyes is obvious.
Payment in return you have still to make, and you shall be deprived of your friends;
a blow is to pay for a blow.” (1425-1430)
This is when the chorus realizes what she has done and they prevent a view of justice or even a warning to her “a blow is to pay for a blow” or whatever you did to someone else, you should get the same back in return.

After Orestes, the only son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra killed Aegisthus to avenge his father he continues his revenge and takes his own mother life. Orestes is pursued by the Furies, defended by Apollo, and, ultimately, saved by the deciding vote of the goddess Athena. According to Athena the killing of Orestes father is more…