The Matricide Basic to Patriarchy’s Birth by Carol P. Christ

About 20 years ago I witnessed a performance of the 3 plays of the Oresteia (the Orestes plays) by Aeschylus. I was stunned. Watching them in sequence, I understood that the plays were one of patriarchy’s “just so stories” and that their continuing performance was part and parcel of patriarchy’s perpetuation and legitimation.

According to the myths, Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, ran off to Troy with its prince, Paris. In revenge for his lost honor, Menelaus called the Greeks to attack Troy and bring her back. Agamemnon, brother of Menelaus and king of Mycenae, assembled his ships, but the wind refused to fill their sails. He was told that his army would be allowed to depart only if he killed his daughter Iphigenia. He lured his daughter and her mother Clytemnestra to the place where his ships were waiting with the promise of marriage to Achilles. When they arrived, he killed his daughter and the ships sailed.

The myths do not tell us that in matrilineal and egalitarian matriarchal cultures the mother-daughter bond is the sacred because it represents the continuation of life. Continue reading “The Matricide Basic to Patriarchy’s Birth by Carol P. Christ”

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