The Bonds of the Past and Present in Euripides’ Orestes

Authors

  • Mojca Cajnko University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/keria.16.2.7-32

Keywords:

tragedy, tragic fault, guilt, ill fate, myth, relevance of the drama

Abstract

In many ways, Orestes appears to be the “most Euripidean of all of Euripides’ dramas”. Its stylistic and thematic complexities admit a number of interpretations. Therefore this paper starts by presenting the concepts of impiety and tragic flaw in Greek folk religion and tragic thought, going on to examine how this concept affects interpretations of Euripides’ version of the Tantalid myths, the actions of its characters, and the final plot twist. The analysis shows that the poet’s last address to the Athenians (the play was staged in 408 BC) presents the picture of an eternal, chaotic state of war, which humans are unable to transcend. It follows that the final plot twist and Apollo’s appearance, which lends meaning to the past and to human sufferings, uniting the feuding parties and commanding them to honour peace, should be understood as the real, politically motivated message of this drama.

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Published

31.12.2014

Issue

Section

Articles