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The Libation Bearers | Study Guide


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The Libation Bearers | Characters

Character Description
Orestes Orestes is the son of Clytaemnestra and Agamemnon. As a young boy, he was sent into exile for his own safety during the Trojan War. He returns home to avenge the death of his father. Read More
Electra Electra is the daughter of Clytaemnestra and Agamemnon. She was exiled from her home city of Argos during the Trojan War. She returns home before The Libation Bearers begins. Read More
Clytaemnestra Clytaemnestra is the queen of Argos. She killed Agamemnon to seize power with her lover, Aegisthus. Read More
Aegisthus Aegisthus is Clytaemnestra's lover. He becomes king by joining Clytaemnestra in a coup to take power after Agamemnon's return from the Trojan War. Read More
Chorus The Chorus is a group of female slaves, captured from Troy after the Greek victory in the Trojan War. They work in the royal palace. Read More
Apollo Apollo is the Olympian god who orders Orestes to avenge his father and promises protection if Orestes obeys. Orestes flees to Apollo's temple in Delphi for refuge after the murders. Apollo doesn't appear onstage in The Libation Bearers.
Attendants The attendants serve royal guests Orestes, Pylades, and King Aegisthus. They have no lines to speak but appear onstage nevertheless.
Chorus Leader The Chorus Leader is the only chorus member who speaks individual lines. She expresses the views of the entire chorus.
Cilissa Cilissa is Orestes's childhood nurse. She is devastated when she hears of his death and unwittingly helps the Chorus trap Aegisthus.
Furies The Furies are the female goddesses of the underworld who avenge crimes within the family. They pursue Orestes after he murders his mother, but only he can see them—the audience and other characters cannot.
Pylades Pylades is Orestes's companion from Phocis who accompanies him back to Argos. He advises Orestes to follow his promise to the gods and kill his mother.
Thyestes Thyestes is Aegisthus's father. He curses the House of Atreus (after his brother, Atreus, tricks him into eating his own children) before the play begins. The Chorus references Thyestes in the Exodos when they lament the family's misfortune. He doesn't appear onstage.
Servant The servant greets Orestes at the door of the palace. He attempts unsuccessfully to save Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra when Orestes murders them.
Zeus Zeus is the ruler of the Olympian gods, and the most powerful god mortals can appeal to. He doesn't appear onstage, but Orestes and Electra pray at Agamemnon's grave for his protection and strength.
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