Zeus tells Athena the story of Aegisthus. He wants to show her that the gods do not always have control over humans’ actions, and that justified revenge is acceptable.
Clytemnestra was a wife of Agamemnon, the king of a legendary Greek kingdom called Mycenae. Agamemnon was famous for being the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War. Aegisthus, the lover of Clytemnestra, agreed to murder her husband. Aegisthus was warned by the gods that he should not kill Agamemnon. The gods sent eagles as an omen, meaning the suitor’s death and the revenge by the victim’s son. However, Aegisthus ignored the gruesome signs and omens.
Agamemnon returned from the Trojan war as a great hero. Later, Aegisthus invited him to a feast to celebrate the victory. In the middle of the celebration, Agamemnon and his army were brutally killed by Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. At the time of his father’s murder, Orestes was a little child. In a dream, the gods warned him that her son would kill his unfaithful mother. Orestes murdered his mother on reaching adulthood, so the goddess of vengeance, Furies, began to haunt him. But what is the role of Athena in the story? It turns out, Athena was in the jury in Athens, deciding the fate of Orestes. After listening to Zeus’s tale, she acquitted Orestes and ordered Furies to stop haunting him.