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Electra | Stasimon 2 | Summary

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Summary

The chorus tries to comfort Electra, pointing out that another champion to avenge her father's death may arise. But Electra remains despondent, further saddened to think that Orestes died abroad, where she could neither take care of him nor perform his funeral rites.

Analysis

Rather than a traditional choral ode, this is a kommos—a mournful duet sung or chanted by the chorus and one or more actors, in this case, Electra. In the first antistrophe, the chorus brings up Amphiaraus, hoping to calm Electra and give her some semblance of hope. Amphiaraus was an early king of Argos who married an evil woman and went off to war against Thebes, leaving his son with instructions to kill Amphiaraus's wife if he did not return. While retreating from Thebes, Amphiaraus and his chariot fell into a crater made by a lightning bolt flung by Zeus. This is the grave the chorus refers to. After his death, Amphiaraus, who had been considered a seer in life, or a person who could predict the future, became an oracle, or a person through whom the gods could speak. This is what the chorus means by "he reigns in fullness of force." The Chorus and Electra continue to refer to this story, with the chorus implying that, just as Amphiaraus's son killed his widow, a champion might arise for Electra. But she replies that there is no champion for her.

In Electra the chorus engages completely with the characters. This was not always the case in Greek tragedies. It was not at all unusual for the chorus to make connections with broader topics in Greek society, but because Sophocles involves the characters, especially Electra, in the odes, the chorus takes a more active role in the plot in this play.

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