Next in the prologue, Orestes, dressed in a straightjacket, is suffering from hallucinations and feels persecuted and tortured by the Erinyes
, who, as Electra points out, exist only in his imagination (5).
When Hammon writes, "I have passed the common bounds set for man, and must soon go the way of all the earth" (Ransom 107), one cannot help but imagine his delight as everything comes together in his head: Pluche's identification of the god Jupiter-Hammon with "the course of the sun," Hammon's self-image as a light of truth to his fellow slaves, his use of encoded meaning, both in numerological structure and semantic savvy, and, perhaps, knowledge of Heraditus's dictum: "Sun will not overstep his measures, otherwise the Erinyes
, ministers of Justice, will find him out.
It is true that the binding song of the Erinyes
at Eumenides 307ff.
The rest of the play confirms that Creon has erred and roused ate and the Erinyes
against himself (especially 1023-7, 1074-6, 1259-69), has shown unwisdom (1052) in failing to observe the established nomoi (1113-14), and brought pollution on the city and interrupted its communications with the gods (1015-22).
The beam reveals Zeus' anger and invites the heroes to purify themselves,(22), or warns that they are being pursued by the Erinyes
, who avenge wrongs, especially murders committed among kinsmen.
In Latin the Erinyes
were known as the Furiae or Dirae; it is unclear if they possessed a cult independent of imported Greek belief.
For this crime, which had been approved in advance by the Delphic oracle, he was driven mad by the Erinyes
(Furies) of his mother.
to Pommerania (815), just as the Erinyes
The image combines the violence of war and domestic violence, the bloody past of the house of Atreus and its bloody present, and the will of Zeus and the responsibility of human agents; it resonates again in the hunting images of the Erinyes
, those childless children of Night.
The spurned and hence vengeful godmothers who have been transmuted into two muses are again refigured into two of the Erinyes
, whom Aeschylus described as "frighteningly hideous" and whose "principal function was to avenge fathers, or more often, mothers, upon their undutiful children" (Tripp 1970, 231).
In this passage the Erinyes
threaten Orestes with frightful punishment in the underworld for his matricide.
9) The mechanism was provided by the curse that was explicit or implicit in any solemn oath;(10) the avenging gods might be the very ones mentioned in the oath, the theoi horkioi, or, more generally, the Erinyes
(Hesiod, Works and Days 803) who are naturally associated with curses, or else Zeus Horkios, whose prominence again underlines the seriousness of the oath.