In the Oresteia there seems to be a continuing cycle of revenge. Someone is murdered and then a relative must kill the murderer, therefore becoming a murderer himself. A new chosen one is then selected to take revenge on that person who killed before him and the cycle goes on and on. The furies also play a part in this cycle of revenge.
They seek out those who kill their blood relatives and haunt them and torture them for eternity. So basically they also take revenge for the ones that have been murdered. Revenge is a continuing theme throughout the play until Athena has a hand in making it come to an end. Apollo sends Orestes to visit the goddess Athena for judgment in the case of him murdering his mother because the furies continue to pursue him even though Apollo has washed his hands clean of the murder. He tells Orestes, “we will find the means to free you from this toil you ” ve been caught in, once and for all. For I persuaded you to kill your mother” (97-9).
Apollo is taking responsibility for this murder that Orestes committed. The furies, however, are not concerned with the fact that Apollo ordered Orestes to take revenge for his father. They only seem to focus in on the fact the he did murder his mother. The furies have no care as to why he did it, so Athena will be the one to listen to their cases and decide who is in the right or wrong.
When finally he reaches Athena’s court, he tells her of the previous events. He says, “So I returned, after my years of exile, and killed the very woman that gave me life-I don’t deny it-killed her for killing him, the father I loved-although Apollo, too, had an equal hand in this, for he had goaded me on with warnings of heart-piercing pain if I failed to get revenge on the murderers” (548-54).
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The furies make their argument to Athena as to why they think he should suffer for his crime. She tells them to prepare their cases and she will hear them in a court with a jury present.
After she has heard each side, she decides, “I will cast my ballot for Orestes. No mother gave me birth, and in all things but marriage I wholeheartedly approve the male-I am entirely my father’s child. And this is why the killing of a woman who killed her husband, guardian of the house, can have no overriding claim on me. Orestes wins, even if the votes be equal” (854-61) This extremely upsets the furies and they claim, “I will squeeze out all the poison in my heart against the land for all I’ve suffered, yes, poison now will ooze and drip unbearably into the soil. (907-11) They rave on and on about how they will curse and poison the land since they have been dishonored. This is when, Athena, with all of her wisdom, tells the furies that they have not been dishonored, no.
She tells them, “Soothe into sleep the black wave of your rage, its bitter surging: for you ” ll be honored here, and worshipped, and share my home” (968-70) Athena talks them into changing their ways… from curses to blessings. She asks them to bless the land and they will have a place to call home and they will be worshipped and honored greatly. After much discussion the furies decide that maybe it is best that all the curses and torture should end. The furies finally call to an end the cycle of blood revenge: I pray that the crazed voice of civil strife that feeds on evil and is never full may never roar through this land. And may the earth not guzzle down the black blood of its people, and then, hot for revenge, welcome the city’s ruin, murder paid back with murder.
Instead let citizens give joy for joy, loving the common good, hating a common foe: they ” ll cure most ills this way. (1139-52) Finally, it has ended. With the “power of [her] tongue to soothe and enchant” she persuaded the furies to change their ways for good and end the cycle of blood revenge (1032).
... ! I'll get even for what happened." Revenge. Hot blooded or cold and calculated. Everyone has had occasion ... to seek revenge; to retaliate for some wrong, real ... came home from work. Another way I gained revenge was more destructive and costly to the person ... about to have another birthday. The need for revenge seems to be tied to our basic need ...
And so Orestes’ life has been spared because Athena found favor with him and there ends the cycle of blood revenge.