Study Guide

The Eumenides Section 4

By Aeschylus

Section 4

  • Now Apollo comes back on stage; this time, he is armed with a bow and arrows.
  • Apollo tells the Furies to scram.
  • But the Furies aren't going to be scared away quite so easily.
  • Instead, they demand that Apollo take responsibility for making Orestes kill his mother. Apollo says, "Sure, I told him to do it through my oracle." Then Apollo also admits that he told Orestes to take sanctuary in his temple after he had done the deed.
  • When Apollo then tells the Furies to get out of his temple, they reply that they're only doing their job: to "drive matricides from their houses." (210)
  • But then Apollo says, "Oh yeah? Well what about somebody who killed her own husband? What would you do about her, huh? Tell me that, if you're so smart."
  • "At least someone who kills her own husband isn't killing someone from her own blood," the Furies reply.
  • In response, Apollo points out that the Furies' attitude contradicts the vows made at marriage; he seems to be saying that, at marriage, two people become "one flesh" as the Christian tradition calls it (clearly, this is a more universal idea than just Christian). The way he sees it, if you kill the person you're married to, it is killing your own blood.
  • From that, Apollo goes on to accuse the Furies of being inconsistent: if they're so fixated on getting Orestes, why don't they care about the fact that Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon?
  • The Furies don't have much of a comeback to that. Instead they say, "It's our job. Sorry, can't talk, gotta go chase Orestes now—bye."
  • And with that, the Furies race offstage to follow Orestes to Athens.
  • Apollo swears to stand by Orestes, through thick and through thin. Then, he too leaves the stage.