Contents Index

wandering ministers of vengeance

Upon a moment's reflection the reader will recognize that Victor, by this term, means the primitive Furies of classical myth. Their most prominent realization in Greek literature is in Aeschylus's Oresteia, where, as enacted in the third part of the trilogy, The Eumenides, the Furies are persuaded by Athena to give over their ritual vengeance to a new and more civilized system of justice that will henceforth regulate human behavior. For Victor thus to invoke the Furies suggests his reversion to a primitive bloodlust incompatible with modern civilization. Although not yet written, P. B. Shelley's representation of the Furies in Prometheus Unbound (see I.444), as psychological agents of self-victimization who lacerate the psyche, is wholly in accord with Mary Shelley's conception here.