Orestes, from a Moral Model to an Authentic Free Person. The Depiction of Orestes by Aeschylus and Sartre.

Zhu, Xiaoyi (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.


ENGLISH SUMMARY: This thesis is a comparative study of the depiction of Orestes by Aeschylus and Sartre which seeks to examine how Sartre turns Orestes, a traditional tragic hero in Aeschylus, into an existentialist hero. The study first investigates the different motivations for Orestes’ matricide depicted in the Choephori and The Flies. The investigation reveals that Orestes in the Choephori is obligated to preserve his religious and moral responsibilities; he commits the matricide in order to obey the law of revenge which is sanctified by the gods and fate. Whereas Aeschylus is concerned the moral responsibilities which guide Orestes to commit matricide, Sartre retells the story of Orestes by focusing on his freedom in terms of his choices. The motivation for Orestes’ matricide in The Flies does not have anything to do with religious and moral responsibilities. It is governed by the norm of authenticity, which is the degree to which one is true to oneself despite external pressures. This thesis also provides a character analysis of Orestes as he is portrayed by the two authors. In order to embody his existentialist views in the story, Sartre makes careful and deliberate changes in the way of depicting Orestes. The “theatre of plot” as it occurs in Greek tragedy could not serve Sartre’s purpose of expressing human subjectivity. Sartre therefore invents a new drama form, the theatre of situations. In this new drama form, the motivation of Orestes’ matricide in the Choephori has been replaced. Unlike Orestes in the Choephori and the Eumenides who is portrayed as a conveyer of certain moral values, Orestes in The Flies makes the choice for committing matricide according to the rule of authenticity; he becomes an existentialist hero and the designer of his own destiny.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis is 'n vergelykende studie van die uitbeelding van Orestes deur Aeschylus en Sartre met die doel om te ondersoek hoe Sartre Orestes transformeer van 'n tradisionele tragiese held in Aeschylus tot 'n eksistensialistiese held. Die studie ondersoek eerstens die verskillende motiverings vir Orestes se moedermoord soos dit uitgebeeld word in die Choephori en Die Vlieë. Die ondersoek toon dat Orestes in die Choephori ‘n verpligting het om sy godsdienstige en morele verantwoordelikhede na te kom. Hy pleeg die moedermoord om wraak te pleeg, ‘n wraak wat deur die gode verorden is. Terwyl Aeschylus fokus op die morele verantwoordelikheid wat Orestes lei om moedermoord te pleeg, vertel Sartre die verhaal van Orestes deur te fokus op sy vryheid van keuse. Die motivering vir die moedermoord deur Orestes in Die Vlieë het niks te doen met godsdienstige en morele verantwoordelikhede nie. Dit word gerig deur die norm van egtheid, wat beïnvloed tot watter mate die individu getrou is aan homself ten spyte van eksterne druk. Hierdie tesis bied ook 'n karakterontleding van Orestes soos hy uitgebeeld word deur die twee outeurs. Om sy eksistensialistiese in die verhaal uitdrukking te gee, maak Sartre versigtige en doelbewuste veranderinge aan die uitbeelding van Orestes. Die "teater van plot" soos dit voorkom in die Griekse tragedie kon nie Sartre se doel van die uitdrukking van die menslike subjektiwiteit dien nie. Sartre ontwikkel dus 'n nuwe vorm van drama, die teater van situasies. In hierdie nuwe vorm van drama, word die motivering vir Orestes se moedermoord in die Choephori verander. Anders as Orestes in die Choephori en die Eumenides wat uitgebeeld is as 'n draer van spesifieke morele waardes, maak Orestes in Die Vlieë die keuse om moedermoord te pleeg om aan die vereiste van egtheid te voldoen. Hy word 'n eksistensialistiese held en die meester van sy eie lot.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98381
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