At key moments of decision and action throughout Aeschylus's Oresteia, central characters actively or passively engage with the power of peithô (“inducement” or “agreeable compulsion”). The etymological and mythopoetic traditions of peithô, however, reveal deep roots in magical constraint and force. This paper demonstrates how, from Agamemnon through to the end of Eumenides, peithô enacts a magical double-bind upon nearly all of the characters: deluding them with power, producing mental weakness, shifting power dynamics, and occasioning potential (or actual) ruin. Only the Olympians wield peithô with impunity and, through it, maintain control within the new social structure.

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