L Grant Davis
23 October 2013
Athena: The Indecisive and Deceptive God
In Robert Fagles translation of the Eumenides, an unordinary circumstance can be found on page 251, when Athena is defeated by the crisis of Orestes case and calls upon ten citizens to be judges. This seems out of place because Gods do not require help from mortals, rather mortals seeking guidance from the Gods. The case itself appears corrupt from the start due to the fact that an even number of judges are appointed. Athena then announces before the ruling that in the event of a tie, Orestes wins. This paper will seek to reveal why an immortal God would appoint such power into the hands of only ten select mortals.
Athena is called upon, on page 244, by Orestes to help him in his time of need. She is asked appear without her spear, however when she does appear on page 248, she is armed with her aegis and her spear. Athena’s appearance indicates that Orestes has complete control of his fate because he is commanding her. He pleads for her to help him and she obeys. The mere fact that an immortal God is taking orders from a mortal man shows that the case has already been decided before commencing.
To make it appear fair, Athena calls upon 10 judges, but the Furies and Leader are unaware of the trickery being made in front of their very eyes. The Goddess elects an even number of jury members and states that Orestes wins the case in the event of a tie amongst votes. This indicates Athena’s knowledge of Orestes fate before the trail even began. If she had wanted him to lose the case she would have never appeared to his rescue. Due to this observation it is then interesting that she elects 10 judges to help her decide a fate she has already decided. By electing an even number of officials, she allows the opportunity for a tie. This makes the Furies and Leader believe in her defeat. She appears to make the case fair and favorable toward Orestes...
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