Although they only make a brief appearance in The Libation Bearers
(and are only ever seen by Orestes
), the Furies will become vital players within the play’s sequel, The Eumenides
. Goddesses of vengeance and punishment, the Furies function as a kind of physical manifestations of Orestes’ sin of matricide against his mother Clytemnestra
. Although Orestes is assured by Apollo
that his murder of Clytemnestra is just and right, Orestes still has his mother’s blood on his hands. The Furies arrive to remind the audience of the reality of this terrible crime, and to punish Orestes for his actions.