Lynch's Model based on The Oresteia
|Lynch argues that the three plays of the trilogy
represent three phases in anyone's shift in worldview:
|DRAMA: the undergoing of a tragic action; the situation that creates
instability in one's understanding of the world.
- Agamemnon's murder by Clytaemenstra and Aegisthus begins
the cycle of tragic revenge.
|PATHOS: the unavoidable, pathetic result of the present instability.
- Orestes must kill his mother. If he does not, the Furies
will hunt him for denying the law of vengeance. If he does, the Furies will hunt him for
matricide. This is a no-win situation.
|MATHOS: the new understanding that results from the suffering. A new
model and a new stability result.
- Orestes is vindicated as the Athenian judicial system
learns to abide by a new understanding of law.
|Conflict in Aeschylus The Eumenides
|There are four basic
conflicts in Aeschylus play: conflicts between old and new gods, conflicts between
models of society, conflicts between genders, and conflicts between views of justice.
Families of Gods
The Furies trace their ancestry back to the ancient god,
Chasm Night Fate Furies
Athena and Apollo trace their ancestry back to the ancient gods,
Heaven and Earth:
Heaven/Earth 12 Titans Zeus Athena and
Models of Society
Blood-Relations and Family (Oikos) The Furies
base their judgment of Orestes on the ancient claims of family vengeance. The oikos
or household is the central, predominant value.
Legal Relations of the City (Polis) Apollo and
Athena base their claims on agreements, contracts, and oaths that can be tested in a court
of law. This includes the marriage contract. The polis or city is a higher value
that subsumes the oikos.
The Furies, despite their horrific appearance, are
recognizably female. They stress the physical ties and claims that Clytamenestra had on
Apollo stresses the legal abstractions associated with the
masculine claims of Agamemnon. Even Athena is associated with Zeus alone.
Views of State
The Furies stress punishment claims associated with personal
family obligations and feuds. Its center is Delphi.
Athena stresses a punishment abstracted and carried out by the
state. Its center is Athens.
-- adapted from Leithart, Peter J. Heroes
of the City of Man: A Christian Guide to Select Ancient Literature. Moscow, Idaho:
Canon P, 1999.