What would have been Orestes’ proper course of action, had he been living today? Why?
If Orestes were to live in the modern days, he probably wouldn’t have to deal with the fear and guilt over his plan to avenge for his father Agamemnon. All of this could’ve been avoided if Agamemnon chose to give away some of the things he owns at home instead of sacrificing his own daughter. As for his wife, Clytemnestra, she would’ve just divorced her husband to be with her lover Aegisthus (just like in modern days how couples would simply split apart by divorcing and remarrying). If that were avoided, then Orestes would just simply be living his life understanding the mess his family were in and move onto focusing on himself. That’s just my opinion of how Orestes were to deal with things if he were to live in modern days.
In the play Agamemnon, Agamemnon marries one of the King Tyndareus’ daughters Clytemnestra and his brother Menelaus marries the other daughter by the name of Helen. In the other play, Illiad, because King Agamemnon led the Greeks to a 10-year long Trojan war, a guy named Paris took Helen away to Troy. The only way to win this war, says the armies prophet Calchas, as well as bringing Helen back, was to appease the goddess Artemis. In order to do so, King Agamemnon had to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, at an altar. Agamemnon wasn’t sure what to do, it was either his daughter or winning the war and bringing Helen back. He chose to sacrifice her and the winds were in their favor. They won the war and brought back Helen.
All these plays come together in part 1 part 2 (that’s what I think) because in the play, Libation Bearers, that’s where we really see what happens after the war is over. Clytemnestra deceives her husband into receiving the victory credits to only himself and then when he’s vulnerable she kills him. She claims to the furies that she killed him in revenge for sacrificing their daughter. She didn’t, however, claim that she got rid of him because she had a lover. She was banished and continued her life with her lover, Aegisthus.
Growing up Orestes and his sister Electra grew up without a father and lived with their unloving mother who would care less about her children. (She probably hates them because they came from Agamemnon, but I don’t know that’s just what I think) One time Orestes came to his fathers grave to pay respect and to ask forgiveness for not avenging his death and for not making a proper burial for him. He hides when he sees the chorus and Electra coming to the grave to pay their respects to Agamemnon, he later jumps out to tell her she did well. He also tells her about his avenge plan for their father.
He does so by entering his mothers house as a traveler that came to tell them news about the supposed death of Orestes. Orestes realizes that she faked sadness and grief towards Orestes (aka him) she orders Electra to let him in and take care of him while she gets Aegisthus to hear about this matter. He doesn’t wait any longer and goes to the palace with his friend Pylades and kill Aegisthus. Clytemnestra comes in and cries over Aegisthus. Orestes brings her over to his dead body and she tells him about the mothers hounds that will come to get Orestes. He ends up killing his mother anyway saying, “They have certainly kept true to their word and both really did love each other” After avenging for his father, which was his way of doing the right thing, Orestes along with Pylades flee from the palace to Apollo’s shrine to hopefully escape his mother’s furies as the chorus wishes him well.
Thanks for reading this essay. I hope this summarizes all those poems to get you a clear view of this story and I hope my thoughts on the topic were helpful enough for you. I’ll post more soon and have a great day!