The Role of Cassandra in the Oresteia Trilogy
“ Out of timber so crooked as that from which adult male is made nil wholly straight can be carved. ” – Immanuel Kant, “ Crooked Timber of Humanity ”
The character Cassandra in Aeschylus ’ authoritative trilogy, The Oresteia, plays a little yet acutely of import function in the promotion of the full play. Cassandra appears merely in the first book, Agamemnon, but her prophetic visions and declarations refering the House of Atreus pealing true throughout the work, and supply non merely plot promotion but besides thematic fresh fish for the audience to see.
Taken from the razed and pillaged metropolis of Troy, Agamemnon the male monarch flaunts his return with his new trophy kept woman, Cassandra, the beautiful prophesier. Seized from royalty and debased into a courtesan, the visionary Cassandra is merely one more spoil of war with which Agamemnon returns. Clothed in the sacred robes and regalia of the God Apollo, though, it is instantly evident to the audience that she is no normal prisoner.
The first action that illustrates Cassandra ’ s importance is her initial reaction to Agamemnon ’ s married woman, Clytaemnestra. When the queen directs her to step down from the chariot and presume her new function as slave, Cassandra remains “ stolid ” . As Clytaemnestra and the chorus of people tell her to make as she must – presume her “ yoke, ” and travel indoors – still she remains inactive in her regard with Clytaemnestra. She is rapidly misinterpreted in her freezing as being either proud or stupe. Merely one time she cries out in plaint to the God Apollo, ” Rape of the Earth – Apollo Apollo! ” ( Line 1072 ) , is it evident, if merely to the audience, how much she genuinely knows.
The words Cassandra so communicates are uncovering on more than one degree. Quite efficaciously, she tries to clarify to the multitudes the foul secret plan afoot. Veiled behind the heartache produced by both her cognition of her ain futility, and by her Apollonian expletive of incredulity, though, the full magnitude of her address is tragically unobserved. This facet of Cassandra ’ s duologue is the factual, if oblique, revelation of secret plan and background. In such a minimalist production as a Grecian calamity, required secret plan must be construed chiefly by duologue. Here Cassandra serves the necessary map of conveying the action and energies of the wing characters through her ain clairvoyant labors. “ Look out! Look out a thrash of robes, she traps him – wrestling – black horn flickers, turns – she gores him through theres stealings and slaying in the caldron, do you hear? ” ( Lines 1127-1131 ) . As the Chorus admirations on, the audience begins to acquire a clearer and clearer image of the scheming and vileness beneath Clytaemnestra ’ s delectation in the return O
degree Fahrenheit Agamemnon. Quite descriptively, here, Cassandra tells her audience the gory inside informations of the at hand slaying. This pre-exposition of secret plan supplants the existent witnessing of the title, and serves good to exemplify the adroitness of Aeschylus with his medium.
Another facet of Cassandra ’ s address, beyond simple secret plan, is the elucidation of some recurrent subjects within the work as a Trilogy. As Cassandra reawakens the ghost of Atreus and Thyestes, and discloses the seamy history of the House of Atreus, she besides makes prophetic mentions to its hereafter. “ These roofs – look up – there is a dancing company that ne’er leaves. And they have their harmoniousness but it is rough, their words are rough, they drink beyond their bound the Furies! They cleaving to the house for life “ ( lines 1089-1189 ) . Unlike her secret plan expoundings, wherein her prognostication applies to the immediate hereafter, this mention clearly applies to the yesteryear of Atreus, the present with Clytaemnestra, and besides the distant hereafter of Orestes and his tests with the Furies in The Eumenides. Beyond a mere pre-cognition of events, though, her words speak more of the nature of the coevalss of the House of Atreus, instead than of any peculiar workss. The “ dancing company ” is, instead than a cause, more a symptom of the wickedness deluging from these coevalss of blood. ” The house that hates God, an repeating uterus of guilt, kinsmen tormenting kinsmen abattoir of heroes “ ( lines 1088-1092 ) . It is clear here that Cassandra is non speaking of any one event, but, once more, is exemplifying the deepest seamy nature of this royal household. This subject is possibly one of the clearest throughout The Oresteia, as the insanity of seeking requital upon every incorrect becomes so clear in this overdone royal illustration.
Cassandra the visionary plays a brief, yet of import and necessary, function in The Oresteia Trilogy. As a voice of Godhead penetration, she makes clear to the audience, through her words, the corruption and senselessness of the House of Atreus. Aeschylus the dramatist, through his expert use of characters and lyric expounding of mistakes, has proclaimed through Cassandra and his trilogy the absurdness of “ oculus for an oculus ” justness. In pulling decisions to a more modern similarity within the humanistic disciplines, Immanuel Kant ’ s Categorical Imperative can be viewed as a modernisation of this ageless construct and this peculiar subject of Aeschylus ’ Oresteia. “ Act as if the axiom of your action were to go through your will a general natural law. ” To specify this work as “ a authoritative ” defines its message as ageless and close plenty to “ truth ” that we grasp it for millenary. Possibly the lone testament to the cogency of a work is its eternity, wherein The Oresteia, as the oldest lasting Grecian Trilogy, is specifying in its stature.
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