n Ekklesiastikos Pharos - Athena and the Furies - models of supernatural virginity in the Oresteia
|Article Title||Athena and the Furies - models of supernatural virginity in the Oresteia|
|© Publisher:||Institute for Afro-Hellenic studies|
|Publication Date||Jan 2008|
|Pages||21 - 44|
|Keyword(s)||University of Johannesburg|
This article looks at the two opposing models of divine virginity in Aeschylus' portrayal of the Furies and Athena in the Oresteia 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 Eumenides 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.
Article metrics loading...