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The Conflict in The Eumenides of The Oresteia

The Conflict in The Eumenides of The Oresteia

In The Eumenides, the third book of The Oresteia, there exists a strong rivalry between the Furies and the god Apollo; from the moment of their first confrontation in Apollo’s temple at Delphi, it is clear that the god and the spirits are opposing forces. Their actions bring them into direct conflict, and both of them are stubbornly set on achieving their respective goals while at the same time interfering with or preventing the actions of the other. There is also considerable personal animosity between Apollo and the Furies, especially from the former toward the latter. Because of the differences between the respective ideals they stand for, their personal conflict is as intense as that brought about by their actions. The nature of the rivalry is ironic because they possess ideals that are very similar in some respects; both seek to establish order and justice in the world (although they have separate and very different conceptions of order and justice), and, therefore, they are striving for the same goals, yet neither realizes this truth.

Apollo and the Furies despise each other because their actions and even their very natures are diametrically opposed. In this play, Aeschylus depicts Apollo as a noble and virtuous figure, based on two traits for which the god is well known: an interest in peace and justice, and a tendency to passionately defend from harm individuals or groups of people who worship him. It is worth noting that The Eumenides is not the only incidence of Apollo protecting someone from the Furies; there exists a remarkably similar Greek legend in which Apollo commands a character named Alcmaeon to kill his mother (Grant 139), who had arranged for her …

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…ries. Each is determined to achieve his/their goal while blocking the actions of the other. Their respective natures, in addition to their actions, also breed a strong mutual contempt between them. The play depicts Apollo as a seeker of peace and justice, and more importantly, as a defender of the weak, while the Furies are seemingly his antithesis–primitive creatures which incite murder and foment chaos within the Atreus family. However, the god and the spirits are also similar in that they wish to establish order in the world by ensuring justice for the mortals they patronize although their conceptions of justice and order are quite different, and this leads to the irony that they work to defeat each other without ever recognizing that there is a common bond between them.

Works Cited:

Aeschylus. Oresteia. Trans. Peter Meineck. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998.

Grapes of Wrath Essay: Naturalism in The Grapes of Wrath

Naturalism in The Grapes of Wrath In John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, the Joad family and the changing world in which they live is portrayed from a naturalistic point of view. Steinbeck characterizes the Joads and their fellow migrants as simple, instinct-bound creatures who are on an endless search for paradise (Owens 129). The migrants and the powers which force them to make their journey–nature and society–are frequently represented by animals. The Joads, when they initially leave home, are a group of simplistic, animal-like people who barely understand or even realize their plight, but as the story progresses, they begin to grow and adapt to their new circumstances. They evolve from a small, insignificant group of creatures with no societal consciousness into a single member of a much larger family–society. Steinbeck strongly portrays the Joads and other displaced “Okies” as being animalistic. They often talk about their predicament in simplistic terms that suggest that they are initially not conscious of the circumstances that force them to leave Oklahoma. Muley Graves, for instance, tells Tom Joad and Jim Casy that the rest of the Joads, whose house has been destroyed by a tractor, are “piled in John’s house like gophers in a winter burrow (Steinbeck 47).” This presents the image of a family of animals that have clustered together, hoping to fend off a predator with their greater numbers. They see the societal problems around them in terms of a predator as well; on one occasion, Casy asks a man at a service station, “You ever seen one a them Gila monsters take hold, mister? (Chop him in two) an’ his head hangs on. An’ while he’s layin’ there, poison is drippin’ into the hole he’s made (Steinbeck 132).” This refers to the devastating, unbreakable grip of the socioeconomic forces at work above them (Lisca 96). A particularly important element that represents the migrants on a naturalistic level is the turtle (Lisca 97). Introduced in the first interchapter, the turtle trudges along wearily but steadily on a relentless search for a better place to life. In a similar way, the Joads are constantly on the move. They do not really comprehend why they have to travel, yet they accept it (Owens 131), and are determined to reach the promising paradise of California. Neither the turtle nor its human counterparts will be stopped by any obstacle.

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