The Women of Agamemnon
A woman’s role in ancient Greek life was far less significant when compared to that of Greek men. Greek women’s jobs were mainly to run the household and bear children. Women had very little rights in Greek society. In Tragedies women were often the main focus revealing to us how women were treated and also how they were thought of in society (Marschke). In the play Agamemnon written by Aeschylus, all of the actions revolve around the actions of the women. The plays namesake, Agamemnon, is actually a minor character. It is the women of Agamemnon, not the men that have total control over the destiny of the play. The play begins with Helen running off with the Prince of Troy, Paris. Helen is Clytemnestra’s half-sister, and Clytemnestra is Agamemnon’s wife. Helen is married to Agamemnon’s brother Menelaus. Agamemnon orders his army to go and retrieve Helen for his brother, thus beginning the Trojan War. Agamemnon’s army is in an unfavorable position to sail to Troy. Agamemnon must kill his own daughter Iphigenia as a sacrifice in order to please the goddess Artemis. If he does this she in turn will give them favorable winds in order to sail safely and quickly to Troy. So Agamemnon orders the death of him and Clytemnestra’s daughter Iphigenia. This brutal killing of his own flesh and blood was the beginning of the end for Agamemnon. This act of injustice shows just where women rated in Greek life. King Agamemnon valued a war over his brother’s wife and favorable winds from the goddess Artemis over the life of his own daughter! Iphigenia’s death crushed Clytemnestra. I believe it was at this point that she came up with the plan to murder her husband Agamemnon. Clytemnestra’s daughter’s life was taken by her husband because of her half-sister Helen. This act of brutality was unforgivable and set the tone for the rest of the entire play. While Agamemnon is away leading the fight in Trojan War, Clytemnestra is home ruling...
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