n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - Athena and the Furies - models of supernatural virginity in the

Volume 90, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1018-9556



This article looks at the two opposing models of divine virginity in Aeschylus' portrayal of the Furies and Athena in the trilogy. I argue that the model of Athena provides the corrective for the problematic one represented by the Furies. The concatenation of events starting with Helen's adultery, culminating in the Furies' clamour for vengeance is resolved by Athena. Athena functions as the ideal, albeit, impossible and artificial, female who resolves all tensions culminating in the final play. The Ερινύες or Furies occupy a problematic archetypal space in Aeschylus' trilogy: appearing initially as chthonic virgins, while maintaining paradoxical links with the promiscuous Clytemnestra both in their depiction and function. Athena solves this paradox in the when she radically transforms them, or, more precisely, reinvents them at the end of the work. The Furies are eradicated, renamed as the 'Kindly Ones' and linked to Athena in nature and function.

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