Date Thesis Awarded

5-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Classical Studies

Advisor

Vassiliki Panoussi

Committee Member

William Hutton

Committee Member

Varun Begley

Abstract

This study will examine the linkages of money with power and justice in two tragedies centered upon the house of Atreus: Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Euripides’ Electra. While at first glance, the house of Atreus seems to be plagued by a succession of murders motivated by revenge, its fate is marked by deep problems with the transactional, materialistic elements of society. Ultimately, the struggle for material resources at such great personal cost challenges deeply entrenched beliefs in Greek society. Aristocracy, seemingly founded upon noble principles, is actually centered upon such an unstable basis as money. Furthermore, the question of money illuminates the perilous position occupied by women. Equated with financial gain through marriage, their objectification in tragedy has terrible consequences. Traffic in women begins as a symbolic transaction meant to solidify homosocial bonds. The women of tragedy, however, speak frankly about the material nature of such exchanges and thus reveal the bare profit-and- loss accountancy of male society.

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