Summary and Analysis The Eumenides: Second Stasimon (Lines 307-395)


The ancient conception of justice represented by the Furies is explained in this ode. They stand for the primitive lex talionis, or law of retaliation — the criminal is punished by being made the victim of the same crime he committed (“an eye for an eye”), and the ties of blood kinship are the most sacred of human bonds. These ideas are the legal basis for the blood feuds that were common in ancient Greece and for the tragic experiences of the family of Atreus recounted in this trilogy.

Certain stanzas of this ode are known to scholars as the “binding-song” or “binding-spell” because the words have an almost hypnotic quality in Greek and seem intended as an effort to entrance and trap Orestes by magical means.