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Theme of The Oresteia Trilogy

Clytemnestra is seen by some as a sympathetic character, and that her hatred of her husband for sacrificing their daughter is in some way moral and just. Unfortunately, the ethics of her actions are overshadowed to some extent by her affair with Aegisthus.

The Chorus of Elders thinks that the sacrifice of Iphigenia was unjust. They also believe the loss of so many Greek lives during these ten years of fighting were unnecessary and therefore unjust. The Elders believe it was unnecessary and unjust for so many soldiers to die trying to save one woman. The Chorus of Elders believes that the Greeks must be moderate in the amount of damage they cause to the city of Troy. They feel that too much damage, or too many captives, and too much plunder could create another cycle of revenge by the people of Troy against the people of Argos. The Elders do not believe that Zeus used Clytaemnestra to obtain justice against Agamemnon for killing Iphigenia, or to punish Agamemnon for Atreus' sins. Instead, they believe that the Queen acted unjustly when she murdered her husband. The Elders pray for the day that Orestes will return to Argos and avenge his father's death.

Aeschylus is explaining to his audience that life is unfair, and that civilizations must develop systems so that its citizens can cope with questions, problems and situations that would otherwise be morally ambiguous. Orestes' problem is that he must weigh his duty to Agamemnon against his responsibility to Clytamnestra. Orestes is caught between two difficult choices. His other dilemma is that he must either kill his mother or face the anger of the god Apollo for failing to obey Apollo's instructions.

If he does not murder Clytamnestra, the Furies may pursue him and they may do so if he does commit the murder. The Furies are goddesses. They torment tho


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