Orestes and Aeschylus’ Oresteia: How to Evolve as a (Tragic) Hero (Doukissa Kamini, University of Reading)

1:00pm - 2:00pm / Thursday 27th February 2020 / Venue: Seminar Room 6, Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Department
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Aeschylus’ Oresteia introduces a legal system based on inclusion and persuasion. Thus, Orestes becomes one of those (tragic) heroes who have wandered in various places prior to their arrival in Athens where a final resolution is found. This presentation aims to show how Orestes is transformed into an archetypal (tragic) hero whose wanderings and suffering offer an insight into the origins and politics of human nature and society. As I shall show, his profile in Aeschylus’ Oresteia does not simply recall other versions of his story in different literary genres (e.g. Odyssey 1.28-43, 11.405- 464; Stesichorus’ Oresteia; Pindar’s Pythian 11), but it is transformed and developed in order to contribute to the construction of a compact legal system also based on the reformation and inclusion of previous forms of justice. Furthermore, as I shall argue, Orestes’ actions are related both to political and poetological notions so that a link between the two aspects is created. Finally, I shall examine how his presence in the trilogy offers a renewed path for the interaction either among gods or between gods and men so that relevant political and social progress is represented in both spheres.

This event is part of the Work in Progress Seminar Series.