Is Clytemnestra Innocent?

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Hafiz Muhammd Asad

Prof. Dr Asim Kareem

10 February 2013

Is Clytemnestra Blameworthy or Innocent?

When a person is accused of a crime they are either found innocent or guilty. This is the basic idea of justice and it is what many feel needs to happen if someone has done something controversial. In the play Oresteia by Aeschylus, the story of Clytemnestra’s guilt or innocence is questioned. She does many things that people are not too happy with and those controversial actions throughout the story, mainly in the first part Agamemnon get her into the trouble. As we explore the case that builds against her innocence by exploring the killings of Agamemnon and Cassandra and boastful expression about the killings.

This action causes a great deal of range in Clytemnestra. One should very well understand why she would act this way. Clytemnestra see’s killing of her daughter as just being killed for her husband’s gain. She also feels that he could have chosen a different virgin to sacrifice. On the other hand, if one looks at Agamemnon’s problem, they could be otherwise. Agamemnon was the general of his army and the leader that has men looked up to. So when the prophet came to him saying I will give you wind for a virgin sacrifice he took it as sacrificing someone close to him. He thought along the lines that he was asked for a reason to be the one doing the actual sacrifice. So Agamemnon chooses his daughter the virgin and sacrificed her with good judgment for what was best for army. The issue is that Clytemnestra does not see it this way and that is what causes the future events that make us to question her innocence.

Agamemnon is the husband of Clytemnestra, father of three and the leading general in the Trojan War. The prophet Calchas approaches Agamemnon and tells him that sacrifice of a virgin will send wind to allow his troop’s ships to get off to battle. Agamemnon decides to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, to...
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