And the lightning stroke
that cuts men down before their prime, I curse,
but the lovely girl who finds a mate’s embrace,
the deep joy of wedded life – O grant that gift, that prize,
you gods of wedlock, grant it, goddesses of Fate!
Sisters born of the Night our mother,
spirits steering law,
sharing at all our hearths,
at all times bearing down
to make our lives more just,
all realms exalt you highest of the gods (Aeschylus, Eum. 968-978)
The price for justice is the promise of happiness, wherein lies the tragedy that Aeschylus foresaw in the day that we must renounce the Eumendies’ blessing. We may make no claim to happiness and tranquility when justice has collapsed under the terrible weight of corpses that lie unattended in the street and the heavy gasps of lives extinguished by a blind terror and loathing of that which reminds us of our original guilt. Injustice is mute; no pronouncement of law returns what has been stolen. The law preserves only two things: itself and the fortunes of fate. But for those betrayed by the demands of justice (Abraham was spared from the sacrifice of his child but Agamemnon was not), their hearths cannot be rebuilt with the master’s tools (Lorde). The Erinyes demand sacrifice: not of life but in poverty, madness, and sickness. Such pure violence is the “boundless destruction of boundaries” (Benjamin) where divine fury razes what civilization has built to expose the barbarism buried at its foundation. And from these ruins we must begin again.