Throughout the ages of literature, darkness has often been used as symbolic in representation for evil, concealment, and blindness. In the opening of Agamemnon, the darkness that consumed the scene was used for effect in order to convey indirectly, themes of evil, concealment, and blindness.
The theme of evil was clearly supported by the actions of the character. The play was one of murder and revenge, both of which are traditionally sinful in nature. Agamemnon is murdered in the play by his wife Clytaemestra, who does so in hopes of avenging the death of her daughter, among other reasons. Clytaemestra’s daughter was killed in an act of sacrifice by Agamemnon, ironically, in hopes of ending a cycle of revenge already out of hand within the families of Agamemnon and his enemy Aegisthus. Although justice can skeptically be looked at as a noble cause, in that traditionally justice represents the protection of all that is good, it seems evident that evil still plays a part in motivating one to kill. Hence the symbolic darkness of night present in the opening scene of the play, foreshadowing the death of Agamemnon, and Clytaemestra’s conversion to the dark-side of hatred and revenge.
Another commonly used significance of darkness is that of concealment. When a soldier wishes to hide his actions from an enemy, it is typically said that he will do so “under the cover of darkness.” Just as a soldier used darkness to hide his actions, so has the characters of Clytaemestra. Secretly while Agamemnon was away fighting in the Trojan War, Clytaemestra carried out an affair with Agamemnon’s sworn enemy, Aegisthus. Agamemnon knows nothing of this affair and upon his return he is greeted with an overjoyed and welcoming Clytaemestra. Clytaemestra proceeded to inform Agamemnon that she had resisted all of the great many suitors who had propositioned her in his absence. Clytaemestra conveniently mentions nothing of her affair, clearly hiding the truth from her husband....
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