Character Analysis of Clytaemnestra

Topics: Agamemnon, Oresteia, Aeschylus Pages: 2 (597 words) Published: April 25, 2013
Character Analysis of Clytaemnestra

In Agamemnon, the first of three plays from the Oresteia trilogy by Aeschylus, Agamemnon's wife, Clytaemnestra, is portrayed as a strong willed woman. Her strength is evident in various occasions in the play. This characteristic was not typical for women of the time period. This strong women walked the fine line between the roles of a women and man, a lover and fighter, and a subject and ruler. It is apparent that Clytaemnestra has both feminine, and masculine qualities about her. Some of her statements come across as feminine, such as “...the womb of Mother Night,”(A, 265) and “...the mother of this morning,”(A, 279). Despite the previous examples, the feminine side of Clytaemnestra is very rarely seen, the play, instead, focuses on her masculinity. In the beginning of the play, as the watchman sits on the roof of the palace in Argos waiting to announce the fall of Troy, he stated that “she manoeuvres like a man,”(A, 13). After the victory, Clytaemnestra reported to the leader a detailed story about the fall of Troy. To which the leader replied, “spoken like a man, my lady, loyal, full of self-command,”(A, 355-356). Clytaemnestra plays the part of the ruler as well as the subject. When her husband, king Agamemnon left for war, Clytaemnestra took over and “right it is to honour the warlord's woman once he leaves the throne,”(A, 260-261). As the ruler of Argos, it was not only her duty to watch out for herself, she also had to watch out for her city. For the ten years that Agamemnon was absent, Clytaemnestra was remained in power. While the leader and townspeople respected her power, the chorus was suspicious of her. However, as soon as he returned, Clytaemnestra was forced to shadow him once more. Although she was not happy with it, she knew her place; she was no longer the one in power. Upon his return, she called him, “my king,”(A, 961). Rather than calling him by his name, she called him king, which...
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