Classical Theology Essay

1125 WordsJul 21, 20125 Pages
Classical Greek Philosophy Societal Norms and Justice Within the Oresteia The culture within which one sees the Oresteia, full of social and cultural norms that defined the conduct of the citizens living within Athens, as well as the Greek world, helps one to understand what was important to its citizens. The prevailing beacons for moral, cultural, and societal behavior, were the gods, and Greek citizens looked to them for standards of their own roles within society. When one failed to fulfill his or her given role (mother, philosopher, ruler, woman, soldier, man, etc), they violated not only social norms, but justice, the law, and the gods. Through stories, such as Aeschylus’ Oresteia, a good Greek would have access to the deeply ingrained social laws that gave them a structure of statues to abide by. Having a story such as this would help to uphold “good” behaviors, and establish acceptable and applicable punishments in the event that these behaviors were not upheld. When these statues were not maintained, chaos ensued; therefore punishment and justice were required to set things back into a reasonable order. Within this paper, we shall contrast the differenced between the earth and sky gods, how these differences established correct and incorrect conduct for the Greeks, and how the violations of Agamemnon, and Clytemnestra, established a standard of public justice for their society for violating social norms. When contrasting between the earth goddesses, and the rational sky gods, cultural inferences can be made, about wisdom, religion, as well as the pecking order of men and women. “Then one of the supreme powers— Apollo, or Pan, or Zeus—
 hears the shrill wailing cry, hears those screaming birds,
 who live within his realm, and sends a late-avenging Fury to take

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