The farcical action of the opening continues, though in milder form, in Jupiter's conversation with Aegistheus. Orestes has recognized his freedom, and the tide has turned against the rulers who depend on lack of freedom for their power. Both rulers have become absurd figures. Jupiter strikes awe inspiring poses and calls down stereotypical lightning while Aegistheus complains that he is too tired to rule. While Jupiter makes fun of Aegistheus's whining, Aegistheus demonstrates extreme sarcasm for Jupiter's claims that he is terrifying and awe-inspiring. Neither ruler respects the other and they mock each other openly. When Philebus became Orestes in the previous act with his farewell to his youth, Jupiter's pseudonym, Demetrios, was forced to shed his own alter ego and expose himself as Jupiter. A clear role reversal has taken place. Orestes does not care for the laws of either the king or the god. Orestes clearly has the upper hand; the rulers fear him while he does not fear them. Jupiter has abandoned his disguise, and Aegistheus has dropped his public persona. We see them as they really are, and both appear as frightened, ridiculous figures. Sartre suggests that true humanity lies in freedom, while all power over others is farcical.

The conversation between Jupiter and Aegistheus reveals that they are even less free than the people they enslave. We have already seen that the rulers represent "the other," convincing their subjects to accept an image of themselves passed down from above. So long as Jupiter and Aegistheus can keep the people terrified, the people will not look within themselves and recognize their freedom. Kings and gods are forced to exert all their energy on presenting an image of themselves as "being-for-others"—as being terrible enough to frighten human beings into existence (see previous section for a discussion of "being-for-others). But the desire for order, or rather the hunger for power, drives rulers to surrender themselves entirely to the public image they cultivate. Aegistheus complains that he does not know who he is. He can only see himself reflected in the darkened souls of his subjects; he has no self aside from their fear of him. For Jupiter the problem is even more extreme. He has no choice but to maintain fear. As a god, his existence depends on the dread of his followers. Both rulers exist only as images in the minds of their subjects. They cannot give any meaning to their lives except the meaning that others give them. Their existence is dependent on the lack of freedom of their subjects. With this point explicitly laid out, Sartre once again emphasizes that all authority over others, whether political, religious, or moral, is only possible because the subjugated do not recognize their freedom. If human beings recognized that they were free, external power would no longer hold sway over them.

The limit of Jupiter's power of intimidation is emphasized when he flashes lightning in front of Aegistheus. Jupiter lacks the ability to force Aegistheus to carry out his orders. His only option is to convince Aegistheus through intimidation, just as Aegistheus had attempted to refute Electra through threats. But Aegistheus has ruled for too long, and Jupiter's threats do not scare him. In the end, the god is forced to reason with the ruler, begging him to stop Orestes. It is only at the end, when Jupiter finally manages to appeal to the king's love of order, that he manages to squeeze out a grudging agreement, which Aegistheus promptly ignores as soon as Jupiter departs. Jupiter has no power over human beings. He can only manipulate nature, or being-in- itself. Faced with the human being-for-itself, Jupiter is lost. He tells Aegistheus that the gods have no power over those who have recognized their freedom. Free human beings can only be restrained physically, by other human beings. Moral force no longer has any power over them.

Jupiter explains that he allows murder when he knows that the murderer will feel remorse. Aegistheus's murder of Agamemnon pleased the gods because it was more like an accident than a human action. This murder was committed in the heat of passion and Aegistheus disowned the crime and repented of it because he did not feel that he had carried it out freely. In our own judicial system such crimes of passion are often judged under the category of temporary insanity and are treated less harshly than premeditated murder. This is precisely because someone who commits a crime of passion will refuse to take full responsibility for the action and will be tortured by guilt over committing the deed. Orestes plans out his double murder with cold rationality. He is prepared to carry it out because, according to him, it is the right thing to do, and as a result he will not be bothered by his conscience after the fact. This is what scares Jupiter. A guilty conscience is a conscience that obeys the gods. Someone who does not experience guilt, on the other hand, threatens to overthrow the entire divine order of things.

Sartre's Orestes is contrasted with both vengeance-hungry Electra and the destiny-bound Orestes of Greek myth. Here, Orestes carries out his murder freely, having reached his choice through reason and in the absence of the pressures of the past or the moral commandments of the gods. Aegistheus, realizing that he cannot stop his killer, says that he wills his own death. Orestes, having made his choice, must carry it through regardless of the circumstances. He does not care whether his enemy defends himself or surrenders. All that matters is the outcome. Aegistheus asks how Orestes can be certain that his action is right if he himself had just heard the divine arbiter of right and wrong condemn this murder. Orestes responds with his statement of freedom: "Justice is a matter between men, and I need no god to teach me it." Human beings, in their freedom, create their own values and act on them. According to Orestes's freedom, Aegistheus's death is more important than obeying the prohibition on murder. The gods can have no effect on Orestes's judgment. Human freedom is both the highest possible value and the origin of all other values.

Having witnessed Aegistheus's death, Electra clearly loses her courage. Her fantasy has become too real, and she attempts to stop Orestes from killing her mother. While Orestes goes through with the murder, Electra cannot stop looking at Aegistheus's eyes. She feels that those eyes are judging her, and she attempts to cover them with a mantle, but the eyes are still there, and Electra loses her resolve completely. She realizes that she is complicit in matricide in the eyes of others and she can never wipe this blemish from her soul. Electra attempts to convince herself that this is what she wanted. She has prayed for it through all the years as she felt her hatred boil within her. But suddenly, seeing Aegistheus's corpse, she realizes that her hatred has died with him and she has nothing left to live for. Electra was driven only by hatred and the desire for vengeance. Her destiny now fulfilled, her life is empty and she becomes aware that the only thing defining her now is her complicity in two bloody murders. When Electra turns to Orestes for support, she cannot find it. Orestes speaks of his freedom; he has found his own path. But Electra does not understand him. The path she thought of as her own has just come to a dead end. Finding nothing within herself and failing to find comfort in Orestes, Electra turns to the judgment of others for meaning. When she thinks how others judge her, Electra begins to see herself as nothing more than a murderess. And it is at this point that she feels the flies gathering all around her. She sees "millions of beady eyes" staring at her in judgment, and she realizes that the flies have become the Furies, goddesses of remorse, there to condemn her.