Electra-Sophocles - Electra Sophocles Sophocles was a...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Electra Sophocles Sophocles was a deeply sensual dramatist. His language, though sometimes characterized by harsh words or complicated syntax, was for the most part grand and majestic. He was careful to avoid both the colossal phraseology that typified the work of Aeschylus and the ordinary diction of Euripides. He paid unprecedented attention to the spectacular effects of the play, insisting upon inlcuding meticulously painted scenery that was to be properly and purposefully placed. Sophocles was also of a profoundly religious temperament, filled with a deep reverence for his country's gods, but without any strains of crude superstition. In many of his plays, he grapples with his country's sacred myths, examining them from the point of view of the diligent artist and pondering their relation to the struggles of humanity. Electra is widely considered to be Sophocles's best character drama due to the thoroughness of its examination of the morals and motives of Electra herself. After Electra's father, King Agamemnon, returns from the Trojan War, his wife, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, murder him. Sophocles's play deals with Electra's intense desire for revenge in the years following her father's murder. Sophocles's version of the Electra story was written around 410 BCE, and it is difficult to read it without thinking of Euripides's Electra and the middle portion of Aeschylus's trilogy, the Oresteia, which recounts the same events. When Aeschylus told the story, he did so with an eye to the ethical issues associated with a blood feud. Sophocles, however, addresses the problem of character—namely, he questions what kind of woman would want so keenly to kill her mother. Euripides similarly focuses on the issue of character, but Euripides's Electra is ultimately destroyed by her situation, whereas Sophocles's Electra prevails and triumphs, rendering his play both a highly satisfactory revenge drama and an interesting study of the psychology of Electra herself. The play is considered one of Sophocles' most successful dramas. Plot Overview Pylades, Orestes, and the Old Man, Orestes's keeper, arrive at Mycenae at daybreak. They have come to exact revenge for the murder of Agamemnon, Orestes's father, as instructed by an oracle of Apollo. Electra, Orestes's sister, is heard sobbing within the house outside of which the three stand discussing how to execute their plan. Orestes wishes to greet her, but instead the Old Man leads him away to present an offering at his father's grave, as Apollo's oracle has instructed. Electra emerges from inside the palace gates, pouring forth her grief in a mournful address to the heavens and praying to the deities to help her exact revenge for her father's death. The chorus, which is comprised of the virgins of the palace, attempt to console Electra, but Electra, bemoaning the oppression she suffers at her mother's hands, her deep sorrow at her father's death, and her longing for Orestes' return, proves inconsolable. Chrysothemis, Electra's younger sister, emerges from the palace with a funeral offering.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course CLA 397 taught by Professor Danielcarpenter during the Spring '08 term at Rhode Island.

Page1 / 6

Electra-Sophocles - Electra Sophocles Sophocles was a...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online