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The Eumenides Notes on the Humility Themes

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The Eumenides Topic Tracking: Humility

Humility 1: The priestess of Apollo, called The Pythia, is very humble, attributing all of her prophetic powers to the gods above. She is not arrogant at all, praying that the gods will allow her to give accurate prophesies before entering the temple to recite oracles.

Humility 2: Orestes takes responsibility for what he has done, admitting that he has murdered Clytaemnestra. He is very humble, asking politely for Apollo's assistance in defending him against the avenging Furies. Orestes respectfully kneels before Apollo's altar.

Humility 3: The Furies are filled with arrogance, showing no humility at all towards Apollo or any of the younger gods from Zeus' generation. Because they are older gods, the Furies automatically assume that these younger gods are inferior to them.

Humility 4: Although Apollo declares that he will protect Orestes because he has been so pious, the Furies refuse to respect Apollo's kind request to leave Orestes alone. These avenging goddesses insist that it is their duty to punish the young man no matter what Apollo or any god tells them. They are filled with arrogance and have no boundaries in place to stop them.

Humility 5: The avenging goddesses continue to believe that they know everything and that these younger gods are ignorant. The Furies have no humility or restraint to what they do, stating that the younger gods are inferior to them, including even Zeus the king of the gods.

Humility 6: Orestes has been very respectful towards Apollo, but the Furies still accuse him of being arrogant and breaking "sacred laws" prohibiting matricide. This man shows more humility towards the gods than even the Furies, however, and Apollo continues to protect him because of this. The avenging goddesses insist that he will suffer terribly because of his "arrogance."

Humility 7: Apollo remains humble and selfless, saying that he did not encourage Orestes to murder Clytaemnestra independently, but instead it was done with the support of Zeus himself. Even this god of prophesy shows respect towards his fellow gods by conferring with them, unlike the Furies who remain fixated only on their own point of view.

Humility 8: The goddess of wisdom, Athena, urges the Athenian citizens to always remain humble, using the court as a place where justice can be carried out in an honorable manner, rather than falling prey to corruption. Humility continues to be an important element of Greek society, for it insures that people and gods alike shall lead prosperous lives.

Humility 9: The Furies accuse Apollo of being arrogant, insisting that he does not have any reverence for them. However, it is in fact the Furies who have treated Apollo and all of the younger gods with great contempt throughout. They blindly fault others for the same offenses that they continue to commit. The Furies thus have no humility.

Humility 10: Although they had previously promised to respect whatever conclusion that Athena and her court shall come to in deciding the fate of Orestes, the Furies become violently angry when he is acquitted. They threaten to fill Athens with death because Athena has voted against them. Rather than respecting Athena as an equal, the Furies treat her like an inferior being because of their arrogant pride. They have no humility.

Humility 11: Athena remains humble in addressing Furies, respecting them as if they were her equals even though they are so cruel towards her. Being the goddess of wisdom, surely humility is a natural understanding that she has within her. This is an understanding that the selfish Furies have yet to attain, as they continue to threaten and mock the younger gods.

Humility 12: Even as the Furies accuse Athena of having no reverence or humility towards them, Athena replies that they are wrong. Indeed, the goddess of wisdom points out that she has been extremely respectful towards the Furies by even offering for them to rule Athens together with her. Hearing these words, the Furies finally listen to her offer.

Humility 13: The Furies find humility at long last after recognizing Athena as an equal and agreeing to rule Athens at her side. Rather than remaining filled with arrogance, the Furies cast aside their pride and take their place in this new world of younger gods, accepting a new role in turn that is much changed from their old responsibility of mercilessly punishing wicked crimes. Now they are known as the Eumenides, "The Benevolent Ones."

Humility 14: At the end of the play, the Furies declare that Athens will prosper and become the greatest city as long as the Athenian citizens remain humble and dutiful to the gods. If they are not humble, then these citizens will suffer for their arrogance. The Furies have become humble as well, setting an example by respecting humans instead of despising them as they did before.

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