What is at stake at the end of Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy? For the second short writing exercise, please write a short, argument-driven paper based on an analysis of one of the below listed passages, in which you identify and discuss some aspect of the significance of the passage in light of the development of one of the major thematic threads of the work as a whole. You are going to want to single out one of the big issues that come up in the resolution of the conflict at the end of The Eumenides and identify the conclusion drawn by the play with regard to that issue. Your interpretive essay will consist of giving the evidence from the text that backs up your understanding of the issue and conclusion that you have chosen to focus on. Your interpretation should be grounded in the text. I invite you to engage with one of the following passages in which you will many of the key issues. You may want to consider working backwards from one of these moments by unpacking and tracing the issue of your choice through its development through the trilogy. From the second half of Aeschylus, The Eumenides: • the exchanges between Apollo and the Chorus during the trial (lines 614-673). • Athene’s judgment-rendering speech (lines 734-743). • Orestes’ final speech (lines 754-777). • Athene’s new “job description” for the Chorus (lines 927-937). • the trilogy’s final speech, that of the “Second” Chorus of Athenian women (lines 1033-1047).
NOTE: ANY ONE OF THE 5 TOPICS MENTIONED ABOVE.
The purpose of this paper is to tease out one of the central arguments of the text of your choice through a discussion of one of these passages. In order to support your reading of the individual passage of your choice, you should substantiate your claims with evidence from three or four other passages that contribute over the course of the trilogy to the development of that theme as you see it. Our emphasis on developing rigorous close-reading skills demands that the entire text “count” as data, evidence to muster for your argument.
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