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The case against Orestes is strong.

Next, Electra’s first invocation for help, her prayer for Orestes to return, had already been answered unknown to her as she speaks. She was sent to offer libations to sooth the spirit of Agamemnon but prays instead for an Avenger; Orestes and Electra and Chorus then pray together with the Chorus for Agamemnon’s spirit to rise and bless them. Orestes, who will announce his death in a bit of ironic play-acting before his mother in the next act, essentially dies to himself here and becomes the serpent of his mother’s dream as well as the vehicle of justice and of his father’s spirit. To avenge the regicide and murder of his father, he must become a matricide himself and someone as accursed and haunted by the Furies. Hold on to that thought, too.

In the context of the Oresteia as a whole, this choral song is the middle point of the middle play (a fourth play, something of a masque not introducing new story points per se or reordering the facts of the drama — think of it as an epilogue? — has been lost). In Agamemnon, the father is murdered by the mother. In The Libation Bearers, the father’s murder is avenged by his children. In the Eumenides, the Furies attack Orestes for his matricide and he seeks relief in court (!). The Hallows epigraph, literally and figuratively, is the turning point or pivot of the Oresteian Trilogy in which the drama of the first play reaches its end, the cause of the end play has its beginning, and the action of the center piece crystallizes.

In the play The Oresteia by Aeschylus, the story of Clytemnestra guilt or innocents is questioned.

The Oresteia was also the first Greek tragedy trilogy written.

In the Oresteia, Aeschylus’ religious tendencies seem to, at times, cloud his view.

Hi John,
Lately I’ve been giving a lot of though to this topic, in particular an intertextual reading of Harry Potter through the lens of the Oresteia and I was wondering whether this theory had any validity.

I am not sure that I have a full grasp of your third point about revelation through recognition but as far as I get it, it seems to me too far-fetched. Why should this epigraph bring us to think about Electra’s recognition and not, for example, Orestes, who leaves the traces? The epigraph is the speech of the choir and does not bring attention to any particular character, speaking about “children of the house” all lumped together. Overall, an idea of recognition/revelation is heavily exploited throughout the series as is necessary for a story which relies on mystery as a constructive and driving element of the plot and is not that specific to the Deathly Hallows; I’d say it is too obvious and too general to be so subtly hinted by some out-of-epigraph scene of The Libation Bearers.

How is Clytemnestra a proto-feminist in the Oresteia?

The second point about the “alchemical drama” also rings true, at least in its main part. My major objection is that I don’t think that Ms. Rowling wanted the reader to feel that Harry’s soul was in any danger due to his actions in the Great Hall, and it is only fair because Harry is not Orestes. He avenges his parents (and saves the wizarding world along the way) but definitely not through matricide, and he does not actually kill. He aims to disarm, using one of the most innocuous dueling spells (as was emphasized by Lupin).

Chapter Three explores how the Erinyes’ transformation into Semnai Theairelates to the Oresteia’s development from conflict and disorder to harmony andorder.

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