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Libation Bearers

Libation Bearers


by Aeschylus

Libation Bearers Justice and Judgment Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used Christopher Collard's translation.

Quote #4

(Electra): "Those are the prayers I say for ourselves; for our enemies I pray for your avenger to appear, father, and for your killers to die justly in return. In speaking this curse for evil upon them, I am putting it in the open before those whose concern it may be. For ourselves, send up here above the good which we ask, with the help of the gods, and of Earth, and of Justice who brings victory!" (142-148)

These words show that, for the moment at least, Electra has adopted the Chorus's opinion that Justice and Revenge are compatible. The same question from the previous quotation applies: does Aeschylus's play encourage us to agree with this opinion, or not?

Quote #5

(Chorus): "You great powers of Fate, may Zeus grant an ending here
in which justice changes to the other side!
'In return for hostile words, let hostile words be paid!' –
in exacting what is due, Justice shouts that aloud,
and 'In return for bloody blow, let bloody blow repay!'
'For the doer, suffering' is a saying three times old." (306-314)

These words continue the Chorus's belief that revenge and justice go hand in hand. They also seem to think that Justice is basically about giving back as good as you get. This idea is a very prevalent one throughout Aeschylus's trilogy; for example, when the Chorus says "'For the doer, suffering' is a saying three times old," this is actually totally ironic because this same idea comes up THREE TIMES in Agamemnon (Part 1 of the trilogy), at lines 177, 250, and 1564. He's a crafty one, that Aeschylus.

Quote #6

(Chorus): "But Justice has her foundation laid;
Fate is early
to the forge as her swordsmith.
The child of older bloody murders
is being brought as well into the house,
to pay for their pollution at the last,
by the famous deep-scheming Fury." (646-651)

Here, the Chorus says that justice goes hand in hand with fate. If this were true, why would they have to spend so much time praying for justice to come? (Think about it: if it were always fated that things would turn out for the best, wouldn't they just turn out that way anyhow, without your having to pray for it?)

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