Quotes from: Women and Other Monsters by Jess Zimmerman

“Justice is not severed in The Eumenides, either. The trial is a nightmare, really. Orestes and Apollo argue that mothers aren’t really the parents of their children, just receptacles for a father’s seed. This convinces only some people, and the jury votes six to six. Then, Athena, casting the deciding vote, says flat out she only really cares about men, which means she considers Clytemnestra killing Agamemnon a worse offense than Orestes killing Clytemnestra. I like Robert Lowell’s translation because it doesn’t mince words: “I killed Clytemnestra. Why should I lie?” says Orestes. “The father not the mother is the parent,” says Apollo, who adds that the mother is only “a borrower, a nurse.” “I owe no loyalty to women. / In all things…I am a friend to man,” says Athena. “It can’t mean much if a woman, who has killed her husband is killed.” Orestes, in other words, is acquitted explicitly on the strength of disdain for women. It doesn’t matter if your reasons are good when you control the law.

Part of the exhaustion of being a monster, part of what keeps you at home in your cave, is knowing that it’s a foregone conclusion: Everything you create will be attacked and destroyed. Everything will exist for being attacked and destroyed, and for heroes to be made in the destroying of it. All your monstrous progeny, so painfully birthed: they will never come to anything but cannon fodder. It is so hard to live beyond boundaries when you know the consequences. Who can bring children into the world knowing they’re fated to be killed? Who wants to go through the pain of birth only to roll right into the pain of grief?”

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