The Furies, 2018.
Performance held on the 23rd of July on the Radstock courtyard.
By three mothers: Hermione Whiltshire, Carianne Dunford, Jacqui Lofthouse.
Inspired by the the Greek Tragedy ‘Oresteia’, The Furies aims at questioning the relationship between justice, democracy, lawfulness and motherhood.
The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus in the 5th century BC, concerning the murder of Agamemnon by Clytemnestra, the murder of Clytemnestra by Orestes and consequently Orestes’ trial. The principal themes of the trilogy include the contrast between revenge and justice, as well as the transition from personal vendetta to organized lawsuit.
Agamemnon and Clytemnestra are Argos’ king and queen and they have three children: Iphigenia, Orestes and Electra. Agamemnon is asked to lead the Trojan war, but his fleet cannot leave Argos because the wind is too calm. To rectify this, he is suggested by the seer Chalcas to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. Once the daughter is killed, Agamemnon is ready to set off. When Clytemnestra discovers Iphigenia’s murder, she plans her revenge and becomes the lover of Agamemnon's hated cousin Aegisthus.
Being the lover of the queen Aegisthus takes informally the rule of Argos, and Orestes is sent to exile.
After ten years of war, Agamemnon comes home and is murdered by his wife and Orestes returns home with contrasting feelings towards his mother. Convinced by Apollo, he kills Clytemnestra so the father is avenged. The Furies, deputies of revenge, hunt Orestes who reaches out for Apollo to defend him. The god suggests him to appeal to Athena. Orestes pleads to the goddess for help and she responds by setting up a trial for him in Athens. The judges are Athenian citizens, supervised by Athena herself. The importance of the Oresteia is widely considered to be in arresting the never-ending retaliation while setting up the basis for future litigation.
To discharge Orestes, Apollo - who is defending him - explains that mothers don’t have real blood connection with their sons and daughters and therefore a revenge for bloodline doesn’t have reason to exist. His reasoning starts from the assumption that Athena was born only by her father. In this way, Aeschylus is forgetful of Hesiod's myth which imposes Athena’s mother as Metis goddess.
In order to be lawful, organized societies; do we need to dismiss or even forget mothers?