Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews September 29, 2023
September 22, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
Orestes is a literary tool designed to express Sartre's philosophy of freedom. The stages of Orestes's development in the play mirror the necessary stages one must undergo in finding one's freedom. At first, we find Orestes struggling with the common notion of freedom, the idea that one is free if one has no attachments, no commitments, and is well off. This is certainly a kind of freedom, but it is not the true freedom that Sartre wants to make us aware of. It is a "freedom from" something, in that Orestes is not forced to do anything. He is free from persecution, from having to find a job, from any political duties, and from acting by any religious or moral rules. But Orestes rightly feels that in being free from all these things, he is not really free. He feels that nothing is really his: there is no city, community, or family that he can call his own. Furthermore, he has no reason to do anything. He is free from all responsibility.
As the action of the play develops, Orestes understands a different freedom that might be termed a "freedom to." He learns that freedom is not something material. Having money, an education, and slaves does not provide for the most important sort of freedom. When Orestes asks Jupiter to show him a sign, Jupiter obliges. In seeing this sign, however, Orestes realizes that he does not need to act on it: he is free from the power of the gods and from the control of all moral systems. Orestes understands that he is free to kill the tyrants who rule Argos and that if he does not kill them, then this can only be his own choice. The gods may have ordered him to leave, but he is free to interpret their sign as he chooses: he may decide that it means he should leave, but he can also decide to stay.
Jupiter wants to cause Orestes to take action, to leave Argos, by giving him a sign. But Orestes's realization that he is free means precisely that a sign cannot cause him to do anything. Having seen the sign, he can choose how to respond to it. His freedom is the freedom to act, a positive freedom. In killing Aegistheus and Clytemnestra, Orestes creates new values for himself. For example, he commits himself to the idea that freeing people is more important than abstaining from murder. The result is that Orestes cannot feel guilt: his freedom is both the freedom to act and the freedom to interpret the world. Since he has interpreted the world in such a way that killing the king and queen was right, he views his action as having been right. Orestes's development is a movement from the common sense notion of freedom to a deeper understanding of the concept.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Flies!