Implications of Gender Roles in Oresteia

Topics: Oresteia, Trojan War, Agamemnon Pages: 3 (1004 words) Published: December 3, 2013
During Greek Rule hundreds of years ago women were put to a standard and expected to maintain it through everything that they do. When any woman did anything out of the norm then they were most likely ridiculed for what they had done. In his play, Oresteia, Aeschylus highlights the implications of gender roles in Greek society with the foiling of Clytemnestra by Electra to illustrate the Greek ideals and views of woman in contrast to their men, the juxtaposition of Orestes and Clytemnestra as equal in their crime yet differing in justification and reaction by the chorus, and significance of male progression in justice as carried out through the victory of Apollo over the Euminides despite justice being carried out by a female goddess, Athena.

In every society there are always the people that are classified as being “abnormal” or opposite of the norm and this is the character Clytemnestra plays in the story Oresteia. When compared to her daughter Electra, Clytemnestra proves to be completely different. Unlike Electra, Clytemnestra was not going to let any man go walking without justice. When Electra’s own sister was killed by her father she didn’t see any wrongdoing. The worst part of it is that the person who got sacrificed could have easily been Electra instead. Electra stands by her father’s side, the man’s side, the whole time like any woman during those times would. Even after her father is dead Electra says, “I call out to my father. Pity me” (Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers, line 135), showing that Electra, even though she had nothing to do with the death of her father, believes that she needs to beg her father for forgiveness. Electra herself sees the life of a man more important than the life of a woman. In contrast to that thought, Clytemnestra sees woman just as equal as men, and that is where they differ. Further on into Electra’s speech to her father she says “make me far more self-possessed than mother, make this hand more pure” (Aeschylus, The...
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