Athena Essay

L Grant Davis Kenneth Parker ENGL A106 23 October 2013 Athena: The Indecisive and Deceptive God In Robert Fagles translation of the Eumenides, an unordinary circumstance can be found on page 251, when Athena is defeated by the crisis of Orestes case and calls upon ten citizens to be Judges. This seems out of place because Gods do not require help from mortals, rather mortals seeking guidance from the Gods. The case itself appears corrupt from the start due to the fact that an even number of Judges are appointed.

Athena then announces before the ruling that in the event of a tie, Orestes wins. This paper will seek to reveal why an immortal God would appoint such power into the hands of only ten select mortals. Athena is called upon, on page 244, by Orestes to help him in his time of need. She is asked appear without her spear, however when she does appear on page 248, she is armed with her aegis and her spear. Athena’s appearance indicates that Orestes has complete control of his fate because he is commanding her.

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He pleads or her to help him and she obeys. The mere fact that an immortal God is taking orders from a mortal man shows that the case has already been decided before commencing. To make it appear fair, Athena calls upon 10 Judges, but the Furies and Leader are unaware of the trickery being made in front of their very eyes. The Goddess elects an even number of Jury members and states that Orestes wins the case in the event of a tie amongst votes. This indicates Athena’s knowledge of Orestes fate before the trail even began.

If she had wanted him to lose the case she would have never appeared to his rescue. Due to this observation it is then interesting that she elects 10 Judges to help her decide a fate she has already decided. By electing an even number of officials, she allows the opportunity for a tie. This makes the Furies and Leader believe in her defeat. She appears to make the case fair and favorable toward Orestes enemies, but in reality it was quite the opposite. It can then be concluded that Orestes knew he would be set free if he were able to summon Athena in his resence.

Athena then used her indecisiveness and deception to make the case of Orestes emerge fair when it had been corrupt from the very moment she returned from war. Orestes knew he would be brought to trial because of his crime. He knew that he could emerge victorious in trial if his watchful protector, Athena, appeared before his case. He was very aware that she would be appointed as his Judge and that she would rule in his favor. This is apparent by the way Athena approaches his case.

The Goddess had been heavily influenced by Oreste’s pleading and crying for help. With this in mind it becomes obvious that she is in favor of her mortal man from the very beginning. She knew that the case would end in a tie. This is why she chose to elect an even number of Judges. Her statement on page 264 expresses her previous knowledge that the case will end up in a tie. Overall Athena can be seen as tavoring Orestes from the moment she appears because of the mere fact she responds to his cry for help and takes charge of a trial he was not fit to win.


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