Transcript Homer

Aeschylus 524?—456 BCE
 The Creator of the second actor to the Greek
 The creation of possible conflict
 Beginning his career before the Persian War,
in the first days of the Athenian democracy
 Having fought in the Persian War at Marathon
(probably also Salamis)
Aeschylus’s Works
 About 90 pieces in total
 Only 7 of them survived
The Survivals of Aeschylus’s
 Persians
 Oresteia (trilogy)
 Suppliants
 The Seven against the Thebes
 Prometheus Bound (arguably) of the trilogy
(Prometheus Unbound, Prometheus the Fire
Oresteia: A Trilogy
 Agamemnon
 The Libation Bearers
 The Eumenides
Question for Discussion
 Do you believe in law for upholding justice
or straightening the wrong things out? Can
you give some examples of its working and
non-working parts? What other measures
might you resort to?
 Example: the conviction of innocence in
touching a woman’s breast for under 10 sec.
 The fraud ring event in Kenya
The Plot of Agamemnon 1
1. The beacon lighting up one after another,
Agamemnon is on his way home from the
Trojan war
2. a sinister mood permeates his palace.
3. The watchman is expecting his master, with
worrying and fearful emotions though. For
all his knowledge, he is forbidden to say
The Plot of Agamemnon 2
1. Clytemnestra lights the altar-fire for a ritual
dedicated to gods for Agamemnon’s safe
2. The seer Calchas’s mysterious words.
3. Agamemnon arrives home, bringing
Cassandra with him, favoring her over his
The Plot of Agamemnon 3
1. Casandra’s disturbance upon arriving at the
2. Clytemnestra’s humiliation of Cassandra.
3. the assassin of Agamemnon (Clytemnestra
for A.’s sacrificing her daughter to Artemes)
and Aegisthus for A.’s father’s killing his
After Text-Reading
The Significance of Oresteia
 Theme: justice
 Socio-historical meaning:
---kin (individual) avenge and its deadlock
---the role of the Furies
---the replacement of kin avenge by juristic
(communal) justice: the first court of law set
up by Athena at Athens
Religious Interpretation of
Social Progress
 Progress painfully won:
(the rule set up by Zeus)
---from suffering come understanding &
---“ the Helmsman lays it down as law
that we must suffer, suffer into truth.”
A Comparison with the Greek
Value in Homer: 1
 More positive and profound understanding
about the chaotic universe
---suffering into truth (emphasis on humanity
rather than on gods)
(a. Why are there sufferings in this world?)
(b. Why do innocent people suffer?
Ex. Job)
A Comparison with the Greek
Value in Homer: 2
 Similarity: gender asymmetry
A: acknowledging the power of women in
association with Earth’s natural process
B: validating the exclusion of women from
the civic processes of the democracy—
the dominance of patriarchal principle
The Dominance of Patriarchal
Principle: 1
---Clytemnestra: a woman out of control
(Homer: women as potential danger)
---justifying women’s subjugation
The Dominance of Patriarchal
Principle: 2
 The role of goddess in this text
---Athena: representing the female as an ally
of patriarchal order
(“No mother gave me birth,
I honor the male, in all things
but marriage.”
The Dominance of Patriarchal
Principle: 3
 The role of goddess in this text
---the Furies: at first speaking for the mother
Their incorporation into Athens represents
the appropriation and taming of female
power and it validates the exclusion of
women from the civic processes of the
The Significance of
 Cutting off from the ordinary human being
(represented by chorus)
 Clarity of vision & the terrible burden of her
 Timeless unity: a mysterious vision that
combines cause, effect, and result
The Imagery of the Intricate
 The Shakespearean poetic power
 An image, once introduced, recurs and
reappears again, to run its course verbally and
visually through the whole length of the
trilogy, richer in meaning with each fresh
 The net imagery
The Net Imagery
1. The net of the dark night: An image of
Zeus’s justice (on Troy’s paying for taking
2. The dragnet of Agamemnon’s wounds:
Clytemnestra’s deepest desire
3. The gashed robes: the robes of doom
4. Cassandra as a wild animal in a net: all of
them are caught in the system of justice
A Possible Answer for the
defects of law
 Ex. 葉國一’s purchase of estate in the 士林
 Ex. The flaws of law in the urban
gentrification plan (文林苑)