Furies were seemingly similar to rabid animals and savaged beasts in their behaviour. These deitieswere described as horrific and hideous creatures that one could mistake as women at first, but soonrealize their appearances were worse than Gorgons. When the priestess of Apollo saw them insidethe temple, she felt the presence of these apparitions were an infestation of evil that did not belongin places that were pure and sacred as Delphi. The ghost of Clytemnestra had compared the Furiesto crazed dogs since both hunted their prey for blood. Apollo would explain to Orestes that Furiesspawned from the bowels of Hell as that realm was solely dedicated to punishing the wicked. Suchimagery defines the nature of vengeance as being this unending experience full of pain, terror, andugliness. It was a cruel act performed violently and maliciously—never was it meant to be pleasantor merciful. It gave rise to emotions that were fueled by anger and hatred, but it also abandons thenotion of knowing right from wrong. Vengeance would be considered a darker and twisted version of justice in which relentless suffering is the best approach for people to pay for their crimes.
Furieswould enforce the idea that if blood were to be spilt, then more blood shall spill in order to resolvethe situation. If one person decides to inflict harm, another person would retaliate in the exact samemanner. Unless crimes were committed, an avenger would emerge to grant the victims vengeance; Orestes killing his mother summoned the Furies to give his life misery. Furies were cruel monstersbut they represent vengeance accurately: that every cause will always be faced with a consequence.Question Two: The relationship between Apollo and the Furies was quite confrontational. Apollo had told Orestesthat Olympian gods loathe the Furies and does not make any attempt to conceal this disgust. He isvery honest with his feelings toward these frightful creatures as he never hesitates to show defianceand disrespect to their authority. Apollo claims their primitive nature should be used in places thatexecute justice in grisly and brutal fashions.
Furies were enraged that Apollo would protect Orestes and interfere with their duties. It is clear they despise new gods very much because of their arrogantand uncaring personalities. One thing noticeable is that Furies express hatred for crimes committedagainst women, but appear to have no problem with women doing the act instead. Apollo was theopposite of this as he would defend men that have done crimes, but not crimes against men. Apolloclaims they only went where men were being tortured and slaughtered, as if to imply Furies leavewomen alone. The relationship was a clashing battle of old verses new and male verses female asboth sides determine which is more powerful or superior. Additionally, their relationship seems to be built around hypocrisy as Apollo and the Furies proclaim wanting justice, but act bias when thesituation involves gender or tradition.
Orestes admits that he committed matricide during the trial in Athens. He explains that Apollo hadordered the death of Clytemnestra because she committed her own set of crimes: murdering a manthat was both husband and father. Orestes would insist that his actions were in the name of justice and that sharing blood does not mean sharing bonds. Apollo claims that a sacred oath can be brokenif Zeus commands it. He then proceeds to argue that Agamemnon was the real parent since childrenoriginate from man. Apollo explains that Athena is living evidence of this fact as she was not bornfrom the womb of any goddess, so this connection with the father is much stronger and closer thanones with the mother. The opposition attempts to make Orestes guilty by stating that kindred bloodis far more important than marriage because Orestes is the son of Clytemnestra while Agamemnon is merely her husband.
Furies stress the point that Orestes had grew inside the womb of his motherand such intimacy should be enough to establish faithful bonds. Apollo had an effective argumentto support Orestes—he sheds light on why avenging the father has greater purpose and significanceover matricide. It is obvious the Furies only possess a single argument which is the bonds betweenmother and offspring. Once the cases were finished, the voting began with half the jury siding withOrestes and the other half siding with the Furies. Athena gave her support to Orestes as she claimsher devotion lies with the father; thus, she could not relate to the loss of Clytemnestra as she neverhad a mother. Ultimately, the decision freed Orestes of his crimes and made his revenge justifiable.
After the trial has concluded, the Furies would express their disapproval of the verdict and threatento ravage Athens with diseases. Athena derails the reckless course by persuading the Furies to stayin Athens where they would receive many wonderful gifts from the people. She claims they wouldbe acknowledged and worshipped if they accept the land she was offering. Furies were suspiciousas they felt everything Athena put forward was untrue, but the young goddess eventually convincedthem. Athena does not prohibit the Furies from fulfilling their roles: they could continue punishingevil people, but should remember that good people deserve kindness and prosperity. Furies becamepart of a new system of justice that is honourable and their old wisdom contributes to strengthening it. Athena at one point declares that houses cannot thrive if the Furies refuse to help them.
I wouldinterpret this assertion as the Furies being necessary for maintaining peace between houses. Peoplenever consider the repercussions of their crimes, but the Furies would be a harsh reminder of whatfate awaits those who disturb the peace. Their presence alone would instill fear into people as theywould realize that being found guilty in the trial meant suffering. Another interpretation is that noteverything revolves around vengeance. If the Furies can change their destructive ways and becomerational forces of justice, it is possible their example would influence people to change as well and handle their grievances in the court of law. Their change of heart would support the idea of mattersbeing dealt publicly instead of privately as the judgments passed would be reasonable.