Tag Archive for ‘Orestes’
Orestes puts his case to Menelaus. His uncle owes Agamemnon for all he did in launching an expedition to regain Menelaus’ wife. After all, he is not asking him to kill his own daughter to fulfill his duty—a look back at Agamemnon’s sacrifice of his daughter and forward to Orestes’ plot to kidnap Hermione.
The Orestes, performed in 408, is one of Euripides’ last surviving plays—the poet died only two years later. It was very popular in the Hellenistic and Byzantine eras, much cited and taught in schools. It is a vivid melodrama (in the modern not the ancient sense), but also a profound and difficult meditation on the meaning of friendship.
This is a brief note to introduce the next formal Booklog, which will be a discussion of Euripides’ Orestes, a rather strange play that pits the claims of family not only against each other but against those of friendship. I hope that it can be used to highlight certain older ideas about kinship and friendship as a means of pointing our way out of the moral trap of liberalism (which includes most of what is called conservatism).