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The Orestes Conundrum ? Why Sasuke Can?t Kill Itachi

Discussion in 'Konoha Library Archives' started by Nibi Nekomata, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. Nibi Nekomata Certified Cat Napper

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    Disclaimer: This is not an anti-Sasuke essay. This is not an anti-anyone essay. This essay is an examination of psychological factors and implications affecting the behavior of certain characters and is designed to be as objective and impartial as possible. Thank you and enjoy.


    ?Exiled from this land, a wanderer disowned, he shall return, to put on this tower of unnatural crimes that pinnacle, whereto his father?s death is the leading spire.?

    - Cassandra, Aeschylus? Agamemnon


    There is no one, without a doubt, who can claim that Sasuke?s obsession with avenging his clan hasn?t been the most important factor in determining his behavior since the very beginning. It is without question that his brother?s death is, in his mind, the only possible way for this end to be achieved. Consequentially, it is widely believed among the fans that all of this evidence clearly points to only one outcome; in which Sasuke becomes stronger, defeats Itachi and finally lays to rest the demons that have been plaguing him. I, on the other hand, have come to believe that all of this same evidence points to the idea that Sasuke will not be able to find closure by killing Itachi. So, in a way, the title of this essay is really ?Why Sasuke Won?t Kill Itachi?. It is highly likely that he will be capable of it near the end of the story, but ability and action are two completely different matters.

    Let me explain.

    The Greek playwrite Aeschylus, the author from whom the quote at the top was taken, wrote a trilogy of plays (Agamemnon, Choephoroe, and Eumenides) which together form a work known as the Orestia. The Orestia depicts the tragedy of the House of Atreus, a noble family much like the Uchiha clan of Konoha. The hero, Orestes, can be compared very well to Sasuke, and the circumstances of the work it self are eerily familiar to anyone well-versed in the world of Naruto.

    The House of Atreus is literally formed by foul deeds, but the real parallels can best be seen in the second generation of regents, beginning with Agamemnon. Agamemnon is called to fight for Greek in the war with Troy, which in itself is criticized by various characters in the play for being pointless, fighting over the honor and possession of one woman (Helen). Agamemnon heeds the call to battle, but his army is unable to get across the sea because of the fierce wind that will not allow their ships to set sail. The solution to this problem, given to Agamemnon by a prophet, is to sacrifice his eldest daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the gods. Agamemnon does this, setting into motion the tragedy about to unfold.

    When Agamemnon returns home with the prophetess Cassandra, taken as spoils unwillingly from Troy despite her plea for sanctuary at the feet of a statue of the goddess Athena (another reprehensible crime), his wife Clytemnestra has been consorting with her lover (who is also his cousin) Aegisthus. Torn by the murder of her firstborn child at the hands of her husband, Clytemnestra murders both Agamemnon and Cassandra with the help of Aegisthus (who is also exacting vengeance for his father, who was tricked by his brother Atreus into eating his own children).

    ?And did he not then himself do a crafty crime against his house? Nay, for the things he did to the blossom born of me and him, my long-wept Iphigenia, justice is done upon him! Let him no boast in Hades, for he has paid, as he sinned, with death.?

    - Clytemnestra, Aeschylus? Agamemnon

    The son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, Orestes, is out of the country during these events. Years later he returns to the palace where Clytemnestra and Aegisthus now rule and slays both to avenge the death of his father. However, Orestes? decision is not without suffering. In the beginning of the play Orestes must ?prepare his emotions for the horror of matricide? and afterwards ?he emerges from the deed distraught; his speech becomes increasingly delirious and finally he sees or imagines he sees the Furies [ferocious but just goddesses who hounded sinners on earth] pursuing him.? Orestes suffers a great deal of mental anguish, showing how such vengeance is neither easy nor easily justifiable.

    The ordeal of Orestes is made even worse by the fact that he would have lost either way. To kill one?s mother was certainly a heinous crime, but not to avenge the death of one?s father was an equally shameful situation. Orestes is caught in the endless blood-bath within the house of Atreus, which is forced, through the cycle of sin and revenge, to continue indefinitely.

    Now we must relate the experience of Orestes to that of Sasuke.

    There has been much speculation into just what exactly were the motives Itachi had in deciding to murder his clan. Readers were led to believe, in later flashbacks, that Itachi, albeit socially isolated and extremely advanced for his age, was relatively sane. Passing the Konoha Police Force Headquarters with Sasuke one day he even mentions that ?Only those who can enforce the laws on shinobi?s crimes? are superior shinobi.? How then could someone who held this belief commit such an atrocious act against members of his own family? If Itachi believed his was justified in destroying his clan; if it were, in his mind, punishment for a crime then things would be very different.

    In the Orestia Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon after she discovers he has murdered their daughter Iphigenia. What if the Uchiha clan had some form of an ?Iphigenia?? An ?Iphigenia? does not necessarily have to be a person, merely an event that might have been so horrific that it made Itachi believe it was necessary to exterminate his clan.

    In the flashbacks, Itachi is reminded by his father that he is ?the backbone that connects this family to the village? You have to be a useful connection.? Mention is also made to very important and assumedly secret Uchiha clan meetings. This gives a feeling that the Uchiha are, at the root of it all, deeply separated from Konoha. It is also useful to note that, despite never reaching the rank of jounin, Itachi had been on one single S-ranked mission before leaving the village. Could that mission possibly have dealt with a horrendous secret, one incriminating enough to kill for? Could the ?duties? and the ?path? that Shisui?s supposed suicide note makes reference to be connected to this secret? This, my friends, would be the Uchiha?s ?Iphigenia?.

    Regardless of whether or not Itachi?s actions were justified, his massacre of the clan created a new sin that, in effect, must be revenged as well. However, if Sasuke were to take the steps necessary for blood vengeance and make Itachi ?pay, as he sinned, with death?, he would become exactly the thing he sought to destroy: a kin slayer. If he were to kill his brother it would not bring any closure, he would be tormented by the ?Furies? of his own subconscious, never able to escape from the exact same sins he had committed.

    Therefore, Sasuke will not kill Itachi. He needs to deal with his grief and anger through other means. As long as he continues to believe that blood vengeance is the only possible way to live, he will continue to be devoured by his own monomaniacal obsession.

    However, this being a fairly archetypal shounen series, the possibility of Sasuke actually killing Itachi cannot be completely ruled out. Although, if it turns that this indeed comes to pass, Sasuke will not be without serious and long-spanning psychological ramifications. Just like Orestes, he will have to ?wander? (metaphorically speaking) and be ?acquitted? of his crimes through the efforts of other characters.

    The cycle of murder to avenge murder must be broken. It is an important idea that I feel must be addressed in the issue of Sasuke and Itachi. If Sasuke is ever to be truly ?redeemed? after his betrayal, there is no way he can completely achieve this redemption if he decides to kill Itachi. It would be against the themes of ?friendship and compassion being stronger than evil? that Kishimoto-sensei has outlined in Naruto to have Sasuke successfully resolve his problems with hate.


    (If you would like to know more about the story of Orestes I reccomend . The plays are pretty good too.)
     
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  2. sonnie_skies Braving the Rain

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    I'm a fan of Greek tragedies myself, but that's a bit cerebral for these forums here. All the Sasuke-tards won't make it past paragraph one and will assume you're bullshitting them. I think Sasuke will kill Itachi (Kishimoto will make him) but realistically, yeah, he should be pretty screwed up in the head at that point. And while this is an archetypal shounen series, it should also come to pass that Sasuke gets a happy ending, minus the insanity.

    I agree that Sasuke won't really feel "better" all the way if he kills Itachi; I happen to think his problem can't be fixed, period. He's pretty much surrendered to the madness so far, and I see him not caring how screwed up he'll ultimately be.
     
  3. Mindless Ergo Proxy

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    Good read. :thumbs

    Might be very plausible in fact. But soon, some raging fan will jump in here and start protesting. But anyway. Great read. Was well worth the time I spent reading it.

    *reps*

    Agreed. :oh
     
  4. Leen Peacemaker

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    How do we know that kishi also read this story??

    A good read though.
     
  5. G. Hawke The one who left

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    I have to say that was an amazing read, and you are correct. By killing itachi he does become the very thing he sought to destroy, rep for the amazing work you put into this.

    But sadly this statement holds true.

    Sad, but true. :-(
     
  6. Nibi Nekomata Certified Cat Napper

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    I never said he did. The circumstances of both stories are just very similar, so it makes sense to compare the two to get a better perspective.
     
  7. whitecrowz Densetsu no

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    nice thread!

    i also think that sasuke won't kill itachi, if he's stronger than him when he comes back, i think that he'll just say something like "i'm stronger than you now... just leave, it's not necessary to kill someone like you" causing his elder brother 10.000 times more pain
     
  8. Noex Member No. 4154

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    Well this is good, however sicne this is a shounen and Sasuke is Kishis fave char he will make it but Kishi stands before to choices i think, the good Sasuke or the evil sasuke coz this whol Itachi thing is depending on that, If sasuke does kill him he can never go back, Konoha wouldn´t acceppt a man who left them and killed someone even if it was a criminal, i mean who wants a murduoress maniac in their village. The other choice is if naruto/Sakura can change him in the last min.

    Spoiler: Manga Readers only

    Well kakashi has the MS and thast why he is not coming on this last mission, i mean if Sasuke saw that kakashi has the MS he will be confused coz he left coz kakashi didn´t had that much power as he wanted, so thsi depends on Naruto/Sakura too get him on other thoughts.


    Well i dont think Sasuke can kill Itachi with his mind focus on greif and anger, he must become like Itachi to kill him (emotion wise) Itachi is cold but sane, Sasuke is angry, filled with hate and grief. He cant fight Itachi with that in his minds, his mind must be as Itachis to win and kill him.
     
  9. Terumaru Phoenix of the Hidden Blaze

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    It doesn't seem too far-fetched to be believable, but it would break a lot of people's heartsif Sasuke never did fufill what he wanted to do all of his life up until his older age. He should at least go home to his friends if not that.
     
  10. Chiru Naruto Forums Elitist

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    I REALLY enjoyed reading this. WOW... Nice job. Reps for you. Its just sooo true though. Sasuke would become the very thing he hates if were to actually kill Itachi. Nice thread.
     
  11. Noex Member No. 4154

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    hahah there you said it, thats the word i was looking for rather sentence i mean heheh thast why there is 2 paths for Sasuke/Kishi to take/write.
     
  12. Yasha Procreate

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    In fact, I don't think Sasuke hates his brother that much. He actually hates himself more for still loving Itachi, his only family member in this world. He is both angry and helpless about it. He doesn't want to admit it, so he wants to kill Itachi to deny his love towards him. This is a very complex psychology indeed*nodding as if I know everything XD*
     
  13. bearzerger Major Cliff Allister McLane

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    Uwa greek mythologies and the plays based upon them give me the creeps, they were like a deathsentence for me and everyone else in school, nothing was more hated except for poetry, because both always promised weeks upon weeks of misery. Nobody ever understood them really, everyone just repeated what the teacher had taken from the teacher's guide book. Sometimes even the teachers complained how annoying they found the whole topic and that they only did it because they had to choose one from the curriculum.
    Nothing against your post, I actually admire the amount of work you put into it, but that story is actually nothing that uncommon, sure the greeks had a flair for drama with all that motherkilling and childeating and whatsoever but the basic parallels you show are there in a myriad other stories.

    BTW: Correct me if I'm wrong (and I really mean that since it's been about five years since I last heard of Orest and Iphigenie the last of the tantalides or whatever they are called in english) but didn't Iphigenie survive being sacrificed and end up on Tauris to be rescued by Orest who sought absolution for slaying his mother. At least that is what happened in Goethe's play "Iphigenie auf Tauris".
     
  14. dhJackBurton It's NERV or nuth'n!

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    Props Nibi Nekomata.

    I also believe that Sasuke will not kill Itachi. For a long time now I have believed that Itachi was somehow justified in killing his clan. After Sasuke attains the power he is seaking and right before he is about to kill Itachi, I think Itachi will reveal the reasoning behind killing his clan. There will have been some kind of unforgivable act that the entire Uchiha clan must pay for with blood, including Itachi. That is why Itachi left Sasuke alive. He saw the potential in him and left him alive so that the Uchiha's themselves can atone for their clans actions with blood by killing off all of the guilty Uchiha members. That is to assume that Sasuke is the only innocent Uchiha. Maybe by making Sasuke persue him and ultimately become stronger than himself, Itachi hopes Sasuke will be strong enough to revive the clan.

    Just my thoughts :)
     
  15. G. Hawke The one who left

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    I think we just gave Nibi Nekomata a full rep bar for this thread alone. :oh
    And to thinks it took me months......*mumbles*
     
  16. dhJackBurton It's NERV or nuth'n!

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    I agree, but I also believe that Sasuke is angry and frustrated. Angry that he was too weak to protect his loved ones (a key theme in Naruto) and frustrated that Itachi, who was strong enough to protect Sasuke's loved ones actually killed them. He doesn't understand why Itachi, who he looked up to, could betray Sasuke's love and trust.

    It is also ironic that in trying to suprass and kill Itachi, Sasuke moves closer and closer to become like him; someone willing to sacrafices his loved ones to achieve his goals (which we saw when he left team Shikamaru (?) to die in the forest (except for Naruto who he knew would live).

    Maybe Sasuke let Naruto live so that once Sasuke kills Itachi, Naruto can kill Sasuke so he can atone for his actions with death

    **Naruto would obviously not kill Sasuke and Sasuke would then probably wander like Orestes did until he finds peace**
     
  17. Leen Peacemaker

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    I think u get me wrong here. I am not opposing your theory/opinion/ whatever. I am just joking. Please dont take it seriously. I read your post twice and I do find it very plausible. :wink

    Please dont get me wrong.
     
  18. Noex Member No. 4154

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    well that sounds very intressting but i dont think so, sure it could be true coz Sasuke was a child at the time so thats why he can be consider "pure" if you get me, however there hwere probaly more uchiha childs around so kind of gets weird if only sasuke was the one who had nothign to do with the uchiha blood repayment anyhow i ahve one question dont Itachi say what the reason for leaven Sasuke as the sole survivor (besides Itachi) and dont he also say why he killed them all? i mean he hated his clan for cling on to its clan and never show their real power or soemthing like that, Sasuke is just as aonther Uchiha member he wants his clan so thast why he is going to revenge his mother and father but he must become Itachi to kill him, wich he said he wouldn?t heheheheh well its very weird thoughs hahaha going backa dn forth haha
     
  19. dhJackBurton It's NERV or nuth'n!

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    I don't recall seeing any other Uchiha children, but it is extremelly likely that there were more than just Sasuke. I meant more that Itachi felt that the entire clan was guilty, but he found Sasuke to be the purest (and had the most potential) which is why he left Sasuke alive to ultimately kill him. Children can be considered guilty by association if the guilt is on the clan itself, not an indivdual member/members. Although, this also means that guilt falls on Sasuke's head, which is why I think he will want Naruto to him.
     
  20. Noex Member No. 4154

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    yeah i know what you mean hehehe :amuse just as everything else around naruto, it ahs hoels and such i was just pointing out that hhahaha :laugh
     
  21. blue_angel Penguin no jutsu!

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    loooooong...but good job man!

    i do have a feeling (or it's just my imagination, heh!) that sasuke won't kill itachi. it's not that he can't but when sasuke will finally have the chance, he won't do it. maybe he'll realized what kakashi has been telling him for so long: that vengeance won't get him anywhere. i think naruto and sakura are vital in giving sasuke another shot at having a family thus, killing itachi and avenging his clan won't matter in the end.

    but what do i know...kishimoto's the one writing, not me *shrug*
     
  22. BattousaiMS Swordsman of Sorrow

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    I also believe that if this were to happen then this will be reason also. In current days we call this "not lowering themselves to the level of their ennemies" in whichcase if Sasuke does kill Itachi he will be no different from Itachi either.

    We will have to see to be honest I am starting to doubt wheather or not Sasuke would kill Itachi in the next year. I mean we have about somewhat close to 4.5 months left till Orochimaru tries again and before that Konoha will probably have an attempted coud d'etat after which Orochimaru will attack again as the village's defense line would be fragil after such event. So I would guess Orochimaru would probably die there, leaving Sasuke to either join back the village or roam as a rogue in pursuit of Itachi (hardly likely to happen given that very few ppl have sucessfully managed to track akatsuki down. If Orochimaru doesn't die then there is a greater chance of Orosuke which virtually means no redemption for Sasuke. So Itachi should come after all that. I am really wondering how this vengence storyline will be played now with the show of internal conflict in Konoha.
     
  23. Noex Member No. 4154

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    Well thats maybe why Kishi Introduced Sai in Team 7, i mean his mission is maybe to kill Sasuke before Oro takes an hold of Sasukes body, but this whole Konoha conflict is intressting coz that maybe is also somehting Sasuke cares about i mean he is still not 100% in darkness so maybe if his friends is in need he might help them in the last min kind of like Darth Vader in ep #6 when the emporer is almost killing Luke, so i mean if Sakura/Naruto is fighting soem strong Oro foe Sasuke might help and then he might forget about itachi however THAT is where Sai comes in if his mission is to kill Sasuke then Sasuke see that he is no longer wanted in Konoha so it might be too late to turn back, but what do i know heheheh its Kishi who writes haha :laugh
     
  24. Alia_Atreides Mew...

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    Really complex... But I agree, anyway, that Sasuke?s solution is based on hate, and therefore, will never take place. If Itachi dies, it wont be by Sasuke's hand.
     
  25. Noex Member No. 4154

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    Well yeha it is i think that even Kishi hasn´t decided on what to do yet, if he is still focusing on Itachi then there is no hope for Sasuke and he will become liek Itahci (therefor a certain death in the near future i think) and if he gets a good guy again all the sasuke fans will be happy and he can be seen for a loooooooooong time, and there is the Orosasuke thiny which i dont think even will happen but its very hard to know there is loads of paths for the sasuke char, but if he takes the aveger style to the max i think he will get himself killed coz he cant kill Itachi at his current sate.
     
  26. link 2 oblivion L2o is back, and more confused

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    :amazed :blink ur REALLY gud with greek history! *Reps.
     
  27. ydraliskos minimal

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    The greek tragics believed in thisis, nemesis and catharsis. Thisis is the bad deed, some form of challenge against the gods, nemesis is the divine punishment, and catharsis is the feeling the spectator gets from watching the play, and also, i believe, the sin being cleansed through punishment(i could be wrong on the 2nd part). A feeling that despite harsh, justice exists. The protagonist did what he had to do, and suffered the consequences.

    With that being said, the aforementioned isn't necessary true in Naruto. Kinslaying won't necessarily bring Sasuke Nemesis, because that universe and today's morals don't work the same way they did back then. If Itachi is a dangerous person that needs to be eliminated (we 're talking about people who kill for a living after all) then I don't see why sasuke will be forever haunted by that one death.
     
  28. The_Leader Nope, not here!

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    Well, good reasoning and all.

    Buuuuuuttt.... Itachi has killed his entire clan, and he's been a total dick to his brother, and tried to kidnap his best friend.

    What has Sasuke done? He's betrayed his village. And had the heart in the end to NOT kill his best friend.

    Now Itachi is a cold blooded sociopath without morals, insofar as we can tell.

    Sasuke never sunk to Itachi's level of indifference, and even though he went to Orochimaru, his friends still meant something to him.

    I don't get how the act of killing Itachi will make Sasuke like his brother. The motives behind the act might, depending on the circumstances, but the act probably won't make Sasuke like Itachi.

    But good essay anyways.:)
     
  29. blazingshadow True Wind Rune

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    itachi's apparent main reason to killing his clan was that ppl shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. it was all image this and image that and besides that there was nothing else. he thinks that is why the clan was getting weaker. he wanted the clan to progress and be more open to outsiders but that wouldn't have happened because the clan opposed to it. he didn't kill his brother because deep down he loves him and sasuke is the one he thinks is the best candidate to be the leader of the clan. itachi wants sasuke to hate him for what he did and make the clan the way he wants to and become greater than himself.

    damm, i can't express my thoughts about this the way i want to. sucks not being fluent in foreign languages.
     
  30. dhJackBurton It's NERV or nuth'n!

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    I disagree. In the military, personel are trained to not view the enemy as people. Enemies don't suffer, they don't have dreams or ambitions, and they dont have family that will be devistated once you kill them. This mentality is developed in them so that they can perform their job without the psycological reprocussions of murder. If the enemy aren't people, there is nothing to haunt you.

    In the case of Itachi, Sasuke can't help but view Itachi as a person. In fact he views Itachi as a brother and is someone closely tied to Sasuke emotionally. There is no possibility of Sasuke distancing himself from Itachi, so yes Sasuke will be hunted.

    Plus, keep in mind that Sasuke's sole perpose for existing is as an avanger. Once he gets his revenge, what does Sasuke have left to live for?
     
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