Clytemnestra's Deception as Depicted in the Oresteia Trilogy

Pages: 2 (613 words) Published: December 4, 2013
Clytemnestra Deception
In The Agamemnon book of the Oresteia trilogy, the Chorus in each play represents the people who feel under represented and disrespected by the society’s changing values. They also fear the control of an effective woman in Clytemnestra rather than the leadership of Agamemnon. The Chorus takes direct actions, thought to ensure their prominence. Agamemnon, the king of Argos, returns home from the war at Troy. As his war prize he brings with him the prophetess-maiden Cassandra, daughter of King Priam of Troy. She was chosen by Apollo and granted the gift of prophecy, but as a result of Apollo's anger towards Cassandra, no one believes her predictions. Cassandra knows she and Agamemnon are going to die, but is powerless to prevent it. This is the main plot that unfolds in The Agamemnon. Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon and Cassandra, but her motive for these murders is much more serious than just marital infidelity: He sacrificed his own daughter, “my beloved child to whom I gave birth suffering great pains, just to control the Thracian winds with spells” (1417–18). Clytemnestra hates Agamemnon, who was ordered by the goddess Artemis to sacrifice their first-born, Iphigenia. However, “Clytemnestra is also angry with her husband because of Cassandra, and she express that both adulterers deserved punishment” (1431–47). The situation is somewhat dubious. Clytemnestra herself is having an adulterous affair with Agamemnon's worst enemy, Aegisthus, with whom she has also been plotting the murder of Agamemnon. In terms of marital infidelity, Clytemnestra cannot claim moral superiority over Agamemnon. So the son of Agamemnon, Orestes, murders his mother to avenge the murder of his father. Clytemnestra dies not just because of her adultery but for her treachery. The crucial issue is the regicide, and the question of whether Clytemnestra’s horrendous deeds can be justified as a response to Iphigenia’s sacrifice.    The Homecoming-rituals shape the...
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