1. bookVolume 21 (2021): Issue 1 (June 2021)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1339-7877
First Published
15 Jun 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Automated Monsters of Vengeance: Comparing Goddesses in Ancient Greece and Hindu India

Published Online: 20 Nov 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 21 (2021) - Issue 1 (June 2021)
Page range: 25 - 36
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1339-7877
First Published
15 Jun 2014
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

Monsters that act “automatically,” without thought or conscious awareness, constitute a category whose primary exemplar in American culture is the zombie. However, automaticity can be found in other realizations of the monstrous, including in ancient Greece and contemporary India. This paper compares the two. In Greece, the beings known as Eryines hunt and attack people who are guilty of crimes against members of their own kin group. One of the best examples is Orestes, whom the Erinyes pursue relentlessly because he killed his own mother, Clytemnestra. On the southeastern coast of India, among members of the Jalari fishing caste, there is a spirit called Sati Polalmma, who, like the Erinyes, attacks those who have broken oaths made to kin, especially oaths that concern sexual fidelity. The Erinyes and Sati Polamma are chthonic beings, associated with the earth, and are said to predate the patriarchal order of male deities. The paper explores automatic action as a characteristic of one category of the monstrous.

Keywords

Aeschylus. 2009. Oresteia. Translated by Alan H. Sommerstein. New York: Loeb Classical Library. Search in Google Scholar

Helm, James. 2004. “Aeschylus’ Genealogy of Morals.” Transactions of the American Philological Association 134: 23-54.10.1353/apa.2004.0004 Search in Google Scholar

Monaghan, Patricia. 2002. The New Books of Goddesses and Heroines. Woodbury, MI: Llewellyn Publications. Search in Google Scholar

Sidwell, Keith. 1996. “Purification and Pollution in Aeschylus’ Eumenides.” The Classical Quarterly 46: 44-57.10.1093/cq/46.1.44 Search in Google Scholar

Vernant, Jean Pierre. 2000. Myth and Tragedy and Ancient Greece. New York: Zone Books. Search in Google Scholar

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