Clytaemestra comes out of the palace. The elders ask why she has ordered sacrifices to be offered at all the altars in the city. Before she is able to answer, they repeat the story of a portent that was observed when Agamemnon and his army left Argos. Two giant eagles attacked and ripped apart a pregnant hare, killing her and her unborn young. Calchas, the soothsayer, claimed that the eagles represented Agamemnon and Menelaus, while the hare was a symbol of Troy; thus the omen was a sign of victory. Calchas added that Artemis, the virgin goddess of hunting, might become angered at Zeus because his eagles had destroyed the hare, her sacred animal. He warned that Artemis might seek vengeance by demanding a sacrifice from Agamemnon. If he refused, she would prevent the Greek fleet from sailing to Troy, in an effort to thwart the will of Zeus.
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