Free Theme of Revenge Essay Sample
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In Euripides' Electra, King Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, and Aegisthus, her lover. Electra, daughter to Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, is not happy and wishes for revenge. In Odyssey, Odysseus goes to the Trojan War but takes ten years to return to his home. Meanwhile, a number of suitors force his wife to choose among them who she can marry, thinking that Odyssey had died in the war. Odyssey learns of this and plans on how to kill all the suitors for their behavior. Because both were wronged in a certain way, Electra was determined to avenge his murdered father while Odyssey wanted to kill a group of unruly suitors who had taken over his home.
Odyssey took part in the Trojan War that took ten years for it to end. However, he takes another ten years to return to his homeland as he encounters a number of obstacles in his journey back. In his absence, Telemachus, Odysseus' son and Penelope, Odysseus wife, have to deal with a group of suitors who have camped in his home (West, 1977). They aim at persuading Penelope to accept marrying one of them, while they eat up Odysseus wealth. This angers Odyssey who had sacrificed his time and life to fight in the Trojan War. He is motivated by the fact that his wife and son are still alive and have not fallen into the suitors' demands. On the other hand, Electra is angered by the fact that her mother did conspire with her lover to kill Electra's father. She is sent away with her brother, Orestes, who was removed from the court after Agamemnon's murder. She is encouraged by the fact that Orestes is willing to avenge their father's death (Solmsen, 1967).
The similarity between Electra and Odyssey is that they both have accomplices in their revenge missions. Electra has her brother, Orestes, while Odyssey is helped by his son Telemachus, who has all along been planning on a way to deal with the suitors who had taken over his father's home. The difference comes in the way they undergo their missions. Electra waits for her brother's return from where he had been taken to. Now grown, Orestes travels to Argos, with his companion Pylades, and end up at Electra's house. The two have concealed their identities so as not to be recognized easily. They try to get information by claiming that they are messengers from Orestes, with important news from the boy. However, Electra recognizes his brother and they are united while they make plans on what to do next. This is how they end up getting re-united with her brother (Fox, 2006).
On the other hand, Odyssey encounters a lot of misfortunes on his way back. However, he is helped by the Phaeacians, who deliver him at night to a harbor on Ithaca. It is here that Odyssey meets with his son, Telemachus, who was sailing home from Sparta. He had disembarked at the coast of Ithaca and went to Eumaeus's hut. Though disguised, Odyssey identifies himself to his son and they start planning on how to kill the suitors. In Euripides's Electra, an old servant goes to Clytemnestra to lure her into Electra's house; he tells her that her daughter has had a new born baby. Clytemnestra gets into the trap and she sets off to see her daughter. Meanwhile, Orestes goes to kill Aegisthus and comes back with the body (Solmsen, 1967). When Clytemnestra arrives at the house, she is killed by Electra and Orestes. They both kill her by pushing a sharp sword down her throat.
In Odyssey, Telemachus returns home the first. Odysseus then comes later accompanied by Eumaeus, still pretending to be a poor beggar. The Suitors do not hesitate and begin to tease him. This is what gets him more hungry and he plans on their death. By this time, Penelope had not yet recognized her husband. The next day, Penelope makes the suitors compete for her hand in marriage with an archery competition. They are all required to use Odysseus' bow. The one who shoots through a dozen axe heads will be announced the winner and marry Penelope. Odysseus also takes part in the competition. However, he is the only one strong among the group, and who can string the bow and shoot it that far. He therefore becomes the winner of the match. He then kills all the suitors by using his arrow with the help of Telemachus, Athena, Eumaeus, and Philoteus. Odysseus and his son then hung twelve maids, who had betrayed Penelope in one way or the other. They also kill and mutilate Melanthius, who had abuse Odysseus when he had pretended to be a beggar. In the end, they get re-united with Penelope.
The two characters feel satisfied with their vengeance. They seem happy to have accomplished their deeds. However, after some time, Electra and Orestes feel oppressive guilt (Solmsen, 1967). Castor and Polydeuces, Clytemnestra's deified brothers, appear after they have killed her. They acknowledge the fact that Clytemnestra, Electra and Orestes's mother, has received a just punishment. However, they tell them that their act was still shameful and not warranted. The two then instruct the siblings to perform a number of things to atone and also purge their souls of the crime they just got involved in. Odysseus is also satisfied with his vengefulness. However, the citizens of Ithaca plan to avenge the killings of the suitors, who had been their sons. They claim that a generation had been wiped out by Odysseus, but the goddess Athena intervenes and calls for peace between the two sides.
Electra's hate towards her mother and the desire for revenge show powerful changes in her psyche that point on how revenge can influence an individual. In the beginning, Electra seems to be very much in support of justice. She increasingly becomes irrational as time for revenge approaches. The powerful effect of vengeance is brought out clearly when she happily listens to the cries of her mother as she dies and the way she threw Aegisthus body to scavengers. Odyssey portrays revenge as the only way of regaining any reputation that had been lost, as well as, re-establishing political power and social standing and credibility above or within the community. Odysseus, blinded by his rage and vengeance, follows this belief and goes out against those who perpetrated offences against his family, realm, possessions and oikos (West, 1977).
In conclusion, In Euripides' Electra, King Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, and Aegisthus, her lover. Electra, daughter to Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, is not happy and wishes for revenge. In Odyssey, Odysseus goes to the Trojan War but takes ten years to return to his home. Meanwhile, a number of suitors force hi wife to choose among them who she can marry thinking that Odyssey was died in the war. Odyssey learns of this and plans on how to kill all the suitors for their behavior. Both characters show that vengeance does not take notice of behavioral changes by the offenders. Revenge seems to have no concern for consciousness or culpability, motive or willingness. Taking revenge appears to be a matter of honor in which one can either kill or forgive the offender, but the characters chose to kill. Honor is a course that must be reinstated in a way that can restore the image and status of a king or the relatives.