should be clear before men's eyes. Thus, neither Aigisthos nor
Clytamnestra realizes with whom they are dealing until it is too late.
Clytamnestra shows herself far more aware than her unfortunate mate
when she immediately interprets the servants cryptic
The lesson here is that women are weak and cannot be trusted. In its last
mythological example, the chorus mentions the women of Lemnos, who
killed all of their men after learning that they had taken Thracian
concubines. We remember here that Agamemnon br
The story of Scylla is also significant in that it shows how women are
easily persuaded by lust to commit horrible acts. Scylla also exploited her
father's weakness, by cutting off his magic lock of hair while he was
asleep. Without this hair, which had g
Orestes uses Clytamnestra's dream to spur his revenge. He is thrilled to
hear that she dreamed of giving birth to a little snake prone to biting, as
this is an easy analogy for him to apply to his own actions. He takes the
dream as an omen of his own succ
accorded power as such, it is clear that Electra is asking for power on
behalf of her brother. She stands in contrast to her mother, who sought
power for herself, as if she were a man. Electra is the embodiment of the
Greek feminine ideal, always supporti
Orestes has previously stated that he has two personal reasons for
wanting to kill Clytamnestra. The first, his grief over his father's murder,
has been fully addressed in the kommos. Thus he opens this section with
a reminder of the second reason, which
When Orestes and Electra indulge in wishful thinking as to what might
have been, the chorus snaps them back into the present, saying, "Dreams
are easy, oh, but the double lash is striking home." They then force the
children to acknowledge the true meaning
house began when Agamemnon's father Atreus punished his brother
Thyestes for sleeping with his wife. He pretended a reconciliation, but
then served his brother's sons to him as a feast. This is the premise
behind Aigisthos's anger against Agamemnon, and s
Greeks thought of a spirit as both lying with its body, and also being in
Up until this point in the play, Orestes has stated that he is acting solely
on Apollo's command in returning home to avenge his father. However,
in this scene, both he and E
neglecting to mention these mythical women's names, the chorus
reinforces this extremely male-centered mode of thought.
The story of Althaia is one example of a woman's misplaced vengeance.
The daughter of Thestius was Althaia, who was mother to Meleager.
wrong with the world. When women start running the show, chaos and
Analysis of Lines 653718
This passage is packed with many layers of meaning. It should be a
recognition scene between mother and son, but Orestes puts up a wall of
lies to ke
moment that Orestes finally faces the awful nature of his duty: matricide.
Although the lines fly back and forth and the action proceeds quickly, the
scene is still full of pathos and suffering. We see that Orestes has fully
accepted his charge, as he cou
Orestes? We will see at the end of the play that he too is expected to pay
for his crimes. The cycle of murder does not automatically end with
The chorus also anticipates Orestes's state of mind at the crucial moment
when he is about to
Clytamnestra in our eyes, so that we see her not as a mother but only as
a cold hearted and manipulative murderer.
After Cilissa's departure, the chorus's prayer serves as a reminder to the
audience of all the deities who have played a role in bringing Or
the chorus continues its invasive role in the tragedy, operating as actors
as well as commentators.
Just as significant, however, is the information that Cilissa gives us about
Orestes's upbringing. She says that she cared for Orestes from birth,
remember that it was for the love of her murdered daughter that
Clytamnestra killed Agamemnon in the first place.
Analysis of Lines 719837
The chorus opens this section with an ambiguous phrase, asking either
how long they will have to wait before they ca
royal welcome. However, as we know that the house sits under a bloody
curse, we should be suspicious of any welcome that "befits" it. Moreover,
Clytamnestra's reference to "warm baths" is dubious, as we remember
that she murdered Agamemnon in his own bath
Orestes's statement to the porter is also significant because it tells us not
to trust anything that Clytamnestra is about to say. She will try to arouse
our sympathies by playing the good host and by lamenting the news of
her son's death. We must not fal
convinced Agamemnon to walk on the fine tapestries of the house when
he arrived back from Troy, thus sealing his fate.
Orestes's plan had been to find Aigisthos and kill him before he could ask
his name. However, his expectations go awry when Clytamnestra
goal. This separation of impulses will become far more significant at the
climax of the play, when Orestes hesitates to kill Clytamnestra. In the end,
it is the god's command and not his personal hatred that forces him to do
the deed. These personal desir
avenge Agamemnon's death. The Furies pursue men who do not avenge
their kin's death. For, failing to avenge a death was equivalent to causing
it. Apollo's association with the Furies here shows that the cthonic and
Olympian powers are still aligned. It is
Electra's hope that the lock of hair might have come from Orestes seems
almost comically coincidental, until we realize that only a family member
would have been likely to leave a lock of hair on Agamemnon's tomb.
Since she knows that she did not leave it
succumbing to this madness, he proclaims to the world that he has justly
killed his own mother. He appeals to Apollo, saying that the god
promised him that he would be free of guilt if he accomplished this deed,
whereas if he avoided it, the penalties wou
Orestes need not say anything about Aigisthos, as he has suffered the
normal fate of an adulterer. Then pointing to Clytamnestra, Orestes asks
what the chorus thinks of her now, she who murdered her own husband.
If she had been born a viper, she would hav
back to Clytamnestra. He speaks contemptuously to her, saying that she
will die next to the man whom she favored over Agamemnon.
Clytamnestra pleads once more, saying that she gave him life, and that he
should let her grow old with him. Orestes balks, rec
Summary of Lines 9351076
The chorus celebrates Orestes's victory, calling him the double lion. The
house is now free of grief, free of those who stained it with murder.
Orestes came home with a lust for secret combat, but dike (Greek for
The Libation Bearers
Aeschylus was born in 525 BCE. He is called the "father of tragedy", as he
invented the dramatic form that defined Athens's glorious heyday. Along
with Sophocles and Euripides, the two other chief Athenian tragedians,
the golden champion. A servant staggers out of the palace, crying that
Aigisthos is dead. He struggles with the door to the women's quarters,
wondering whether his cries fall on deaf ears. Where has Clytamnestra
gone, he shouts.
Clytamnestra enters, askin
This act justifies Aegisthus' role in the play. But in a broader sense, it is
the source of the ancestral curse that pervades the trilogy, as one act of
violence leads to another.
The title character, Agamemnon, appears only briefly, and comes across
language and characterization. The poetry is magnificent and moving,
with skillful portrayal of major and minor characters alike.
The play's mood carries a heavy sense of impending doom. From the
Watchman's opening speech through the Chorus' foreboding wo