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Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek ReligionVolume I: Early Greek Religion$
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Andrej Petrovic and Ivana Petrovic

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768043.001.0001

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Aeschylus on Mental Pollution

Aeschylus on Mental Pollution

The Oresteia and the Suppliants

Chapter:
(p.132) 8 Aeschylus on Mental Pollution
Source:
Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion
Author(s):

Andrej Petrovic

Ivana Petrovic

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768043.003.0009

Chapter 8 discusses issues of mental pollution in the Oresteia and the Suppliants. Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy depicts a chain of retributive kin-killings, resulting in pollution of the body and the mind of homicides. The chapter first discusses Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigenia, focusing on Aeschylus’ characterization of Agamemnon’s mind as a polluted, sacrilegious, and unholy ritual agent (Ag. 219–21). Agamemnon’s fatal misinterpretation of divinely sanctioned ordinances is analysed as a case of mental impurity. In the Suppliants, Aeschylus explores the incorrect mental attitudes of the Aegyptids in the context of rituals of marriage, supplication, and guest-friendship. Throughout the play the sons of Aegyptus are perceived by the persecuted Danaids as hubristic, and their hubris is associated with impious thinking and having the wrong mindset.

Keywords:   Oresteia, Suppliants, human sacrifice, murder, blasphemy, inner pollution, homicide trial, supplication, marriage, xenia

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