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Libation Bearers Themes
Little Words, Big Ideas
In reading Libation Bearers, it's very important to remember that it is only Part 2 of a three-part series of tragedies called the Oresteia. Most scholars think that the Oresteia as a whole charts...
Justice and Judgment
Just like in Agamemnon, Part 1 of the Oresteia, the themes of justice and revenge are very closely intertwined. In fact, you could say that the entire point of the trilogy is to tease out the subtl...
It isn't hard to see the centrality of family to Libation Bearers. In the very first scene, we have two children paying homage to the spirit of their dead father; then they realize that they are br...
Language and Communication
The most important form of language and communication in Libation Bearers is communication between the living and the dead. Wait, scratch that. What's most important is the attempted communication...
Memory and the Past
Basically by definition, revenge makes you live in the past and try to make the past present. If you're out for revenge, that means you're preoccupied by a wrong that happened a while ago; thus, Or...
Fate and Free Will
This being a Greek tragedy and all, there is lots of ambiguity about the question of whether individuals have free will, or whether they are just controlled by fate. Just as in Agamemnon, Part 1 of...
Lies and Deceit
In Libation Bearers, trickery is the main weapon the powerless can use against the powerful. At the very beginning, Orestes asks the god Hermes to be his "saviour and ally" (Fragment 1, 2). It make...
One of the major differences between ancient Greek religion and many widely practiced contemporary religions is its strong emphasis on contracts. A large part of worship entailed asking specific fa...
When Libation Bearers begins, the conservative gender norms of the ancient Greek world have already been violated. Clytemnestra, a woman, is in power along with her new boy-toy, Aegisthus, who ever...
You would think that the theme of exile in Libation Bearers would center around one figure: Orestes. After all, it's Orestes who is coming home after many years abroad to kill his father's killers...
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