Women’s Revenge in the Oresteia and Medea
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Comparing Womens Revenge in The Oresteia and Medea
Clytaemnestra and Medea are two women who are seeking justice for a
wrong committed by their husbands. Clytaemnestra?s husband, Agamemnon,
did not wrong here directly but rather indirectly. Agamemnon
sacrificed their daughter Iphigeneia, in order to calm the Thracian
winds. For Clytaemnestra this brought much hatred towards Agamemnon.
Here Agamemnon had betrayed Clytaemnestra and their daughters trust,
and for that she sought revenge. Medeas husband, Jason, had
dishonored her with his unfaithfulness. Medea sought to kill
everything that was important in Jasons life in order to seek
justice. Clytaemnestra and Medea are similar but yet different in the
ways that they define justice, setup up their victims, carry out the
just sentence and in the end justify their actions.
Clytaemnestra feels the only justice for the death of her daughter,
Iphigeneia, is the death of Agamemnon. ?Act for an act, wound for
wound!? is the only justification that Clytaemnestra cans see
(Agamemnon 1555). Medea also sees death as the only justification for
her husbands? unfaithfulness. ?To stay here, and in this I will make
dead bodies / Of three of my enemies, -father, the girl and my
husband?(Medea 370-71). Medea says here that she wishes to kill Kreon,
the father of the princess Jason will wed, the princess and Jason.
Although she never kills Jason, she does successfully kill Kreon and
the princess. Medea later says that she must also kill her children to
cause Jason pain. In their defining justice Clytaemnestra and Medea
both feel death is the only justice. However, with Medea she does not
intend to kill Jason.
In order for Clytaemnestra to seek justice for her daughters? death,
she had to make Agamemnon feel as though nothing was wrong.
Clytaemnestra gives a big speech when Agamemnon arrives telling
everybody how ?great the love she bore her husband, and the agonizing
grief she had suffered in his absence?(Hamilton 253). She laid red
tapestries for him to walk on, and made him feel as though he was
worthy enough to walk on them. Like Clytaemnestra, Medea uses her
words to make Kreon and Jason feel as though she is being sincere.
Medea convinces Kreon to let her have another day before she is
banished, by telling him that she needs to find a place to live and
that she needs to ?look for support? for her children (Medea 337-339).
Medea tells Jason that she is wrong for what she has said and that he
is right for marrying a princess, because it will be better for their
children (Medea 845-954). Clytaemnestra and Medea set their victims up
by making them feel as though nothing is wrong.
Clytaemnestra decides the way to kill Agamemnon is while he is
bathing, there he is defenseless. Clytaemnestra carries out the
sentence that she sees just by slashing Agamemnon with a sword three
times. Then she kills Cassandra, Agamemnon?s concubine he received for
defeating Troy, whom she sees as a nuisance if left alive. Medea, on
the other hand does not use brute force at first to kill like
Clytaemnestra, instead she uses what she knows best, poison. Medea
sends the children

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