Electra: Femininity and Protest
Translated by Sima Binayi
Euripides’ Electra is a prime example of a hermeneutical text that can be used to develop the concept of a work that is fixed at any time, according to certain conditions, and rewritten according to its particular daily life.
Understanding a text like Electra in our time is akin to authorship, or more accurately, its translation into today’s vocabulary machine. We do not put the work in front of us for comprehension, but rather we look at our day through its lens, as if it is an integral part of us.
The translation of a contemporary text is not a secondary matter in language, but rather the most primitive way to think within the form of words. Language, as the most primitive god of mankind, attempts to redefine “being” based on being understood in our existence, which is dependent on the signs of the day. Because language never goes beyond the conditions of its day and even defines what it has, based on what it has. We understand language in line with the world and the world through language; it is as if what is called language is the phenomenon of existence whose concern is always with itself, and apart from isolation, it tries to redefine its conditions in the form of words.
It should be stated clearly that the world is not something beyond words. Hence, mixing the old word (Electra) with the contemporary word (our current conditions) becomes the appropriate creation of language according to the conditions and not an adaptation between the past and the future. In this position, what was in the past and was able to be raised has now become available for today’s concern. This is why Electra gives us what we need to interpret our circumstances.
Electra is a girl who, along with her brother Orestes, kills her mother and her mother’s lover. In the story’s narrative line, Electra forces Orestes to kill their mother and even takes responsibility for this murder. After forcing her sister to do something she did not agree with, Orestes makes the path of separation and distance from her smoother, and ultimately the two separate from each other.
In this position, Electra is a symbol of the power of the community because she was able to gather the mass of people together and make them do something. In other words, Electra is the mechanism of social mobility, the most popular discourse. Social action is established when the common language of discourses can reach a certain point with each other and suggest that they are aligned. In other words, they process the subject of revolution, which is always present, by focusing on the concept of revolution and asking for a change in a specific semantic system. Here, the concept of the revolutionary subject is an event that belongs to the language of the situation and is not ambiguous because it is loyal to the conditions that have been accepted by the discourses.
Electra, in this story, is the arena of change and revolution. It is something that is present within existence itself and is fed by the existence of the same situation or, in the language of the story itself, the thirst for revenge. Electra means the maximum intensity that establishes a commitment between the subject and the object and praises the new action behind the language, or in other words, shapes it following the conditions so that it can be recounted using the same situation.
Furthermore, Electra is a woman, and that’s what makes this story special for our community. In the current situation of Iran, women have the most inner words to protest against the conditions because, based on the object present in society, the subject of their protest has become wider, and their power of protest has been given a trans-class form. In other words, they understood the truth of the problems more proportionally because it is wider for them, and at the same time, they cannot rely on a specific class.
However, to better implement their protest, women need Orestes, who can understand them more fully due to the partiality of the concept of their criticism. In other words, the class fighters give the concept of criticism to generalize it to its caretakers, that is, women who have more primitive problems than the concept of social class. Nevertheless, the story’s end is not happy, and it must be said that in the process of internalizing the subject of criticism, an immortal unity between the organs is never supposed to be formed. What matters is only mobility, which is strengthened by women on the path of society; however, it is not supposed to be forever.
Any action to bring about change is presented with a big lie, and in the end, it is reduced to
small truths so that everyone knows exactly what they want. Thus, women shout the beginning of this struggle, but they should not forget that we will always be victims of the inadequacy of our language because we are never going to stand still. However, it is a heroic death that we must recount to impose the right of its illusion.