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Aeschylus' Agamemnon

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Apr. 18th, 2007 | 02:06 am
posted by: cflong in democracy105w

This play begins with a speech by the Watchman at Agamemnon’s palace. He is watching for a fire signaling the war has been won. He soon sees the signal of the fall of Troy. The Queen, Clytaemestra comes on stage to announce that they have won the war over Troy and comments on how much she has missed her husband, Agamemnon. However, the Chorus is slightly skeptical of the victory because they strongly disliked the war

Not long after, Agamemnon returns from the war in a chariot accompanied by a new woman, Cassandra, a soothsayer. Clytaemestra who keeps trying to get him to enter the house on a red carpet she had rolled out for him greets Agamemnon, excited to praise the gods for his victory in war. He refuses numerous times to do this as he feels it is inappropriate because he is a mere mortal. However, he soon yields to his persistent wife.

Clytaemestra comes back out of the house to invite Cassandra in but she does not respond to Clytaemestra. Once Clytaemestra returns to the house, Cassandra has many visions about the future, including her own death and that of Agamemnon. After she reveals these visions to the Chorus she enters the house because it is her destiny to die there.

Screams come from inside the house and it is soon revealed that Agamemnon has been murdered in the bathtub and Cassandra is dead as well. Clytaemestra reveals all that she has done and does not exhibit a bit of remorse. The Chorus is shocked and completely rejects her as Clytaemestra tries to validate her murders. She feels as though her husband deserved all of this because he sacrificed Clytaemestra’s eldest daughter, Iphigeneia. The Chorus still refuses to accept this and Clytaemestra will not allow a public mourning for Agamemnon

At the end of the play, Aegisthus, Clytaemestra’s lover, comes on stage and reveals that he had a hand in helping to plot the murder of Agamemnon. The Chorus taunts him for having cowardly and womanly ways because he did not execute the murders himself. Clytaemestra tells him that every thing is fine because it is finally the two of them that have all the power and they enter the house and shut the door behind them.

Word Count: 389

Discussion Questions:

1. How does Clytamestra's slaying of her husband relate to the themes of Athenian Democracy?

2. Athenian Democracy is portrayed through the story of Agememnon which begins with the dark overtones of the war with Troy. How does this war with Troy exemplify the use of democracy in Agamemnon's Athens?

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