The Eumenides by Aeschylus

The Eumenides by Aeschylus

“The Eumenides” is the final play in a trilogy of tragedies by the Greek playwright Aeschylus, known as the Oresteia. It was first performed in Athens in 458 BCE and is considered a masterpiece of ancient Greek drama. The play tells the story of the transformation of the Furies, ancient goddesses of vengeance, into the Eumenides, or the kindly ones, through the power of justice.

Key Facts:

The play is the third part of a trilogy that includes “Agamemnon” and “The Libation Bearers.”
It was first performed in Athens in 458 BCE.
The play deals with themes of justice, revenge, and transformation.
The main character is Orestes, who is on trial for the murder of his mother.
The play ends with the transformation of the Furies into the Eumenides.

Major Characters:

Orestes: The protagonist of the play, Orestes is on trial for the murder of his mother, Clytemnestra. He is tormented by the Furies, who pursue him for vengeance.

Apollo: The god of music, poetry, and prophecy, Apollo is the one who advises Orestes to kill his mother to avenge his father’s death. He also defends Orestes in court.

Athena: The goddess of wisdom and warfare, Athena is the judge in Orestes’ trial. She ultimately decides to transform the Furies into the Eumenides.

Minor Characters:

Clytemnestra: Orestes’ mother, Clytemnestra, is killed by her son in revenge for her murder of Orestes’ father, Agamemnon.

The Furies: The Furies are ancient goddesses of vengeance who pursue Orestes for the murder of his mother. They are depicted as terrifying creatures with snakes for hair and wings.


“The Eumenides” is a powerful play that explores themes of justice and transformation. Orestes’ trial serves as a metaphor for the struggle between the old, vengeful ways of the past and the new, just ways of the future. The transformation of the Furies into the Eumenides represents the triumph of reason and justice over blind vengeance. The play remains a timeless work of art that continues to captivate audiences with its powerful themes and complex characters.