Aeschylus: Familial Loyalty/Vengeance Versus Duty to the State/Justice
In this play, a new system of justice centered around rationale and testimony is established. However, parallel to the establishment of a new justice system is a leap towards a society in which claims of men are have more authority over those of women, male-dominated society. The new rule of law also comes to support the marginalization of motherhood and therefore women in general. In this essay, I shall argue that in Aeschylus’ The Eumenides, the battle of the genders, with the Furies representing parental equality and Apollo representing male dominance. The loss on the Furies’ front defines a new social order that weakens the role of the mother and women in society.
Therefore, although he feels compassion for the group of asylum seekers, he cannot make a unilateral decision because any opposition to such a decision within the ordinary people of the Kingdom might create discontent and thus challenge his authority. His Kingdom is also at stake. Pelasgus realizes that there is a distinct possibility that were he to grant asylum to the group, their pursuers might very well wage war against his Kingdom in a bid to re-capture the group. Since he has not had the time to asses the strength and weaknesses of the pursuing band, the likelihood that his Kingdom could be overrun in the pretext of re-capturing the girls is eminent.The band of captures is also in hot pursuit therefore, the decisions he is going to make are hurried, which may not augur well for his kingdom. As king, Pelasgus cannot also wholly trust the word of the asylum seekers, and he needs to consult, because the group may as well be spies sent by enemy Kingdoms. If he grants them asylum and they turn out to be spies or agent provocateurs of sorts, his kingdom is doomed (Garvie, Frank, 1969.
In the chorus “I swept from these halls/the murder,” it is enough evidence for her belief, According to her, the murders of Agamemnon and Cassandra marks the erasure of previous generations’ bloodshed.
Bakewell, Geofrey. “Aeschylus’ Supplices 11-12: Danaus as Pessonomon.” Classical Quarterly 58.1 (2008): 303-307.
Garvie, Frank. Aeschylus’ Supplices, Play, and Trilogy. Cambridge, 1969.