Classical Civilizations on Agamemnon
Summary: Analyzes Agamemnon and the three main characters Agamemnon, Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra and how they appeal to the audience.
The Agamemnon, a story of an ambitious husband, a wife turned temptress and a cowardly lover, or a story of three equally determined characters contesting for their own revenge?
In this essay I am going to explore the dispositions of the three main characters; Agamemnon, Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra and how they appeal to the audience.
'She is the lioness, she rears on her hind legs, she beds with the wolf, when her lion king goes ranging'
This quotation refers to Clytaemnestra and her state of affairs. It gives ...view middle of the document...
The wolf is also known as being devoted to its family, this may illustrate Aegisthus' attempt at revenge for his father.
Clytaemnestra dominates the action of the Agamemnon, so I shall firstly focus on her appearances and personality within the play.
Clytaemnestra's seemingly most important and central characteristic is her 'male strength of heart'. At the very beginning of the play, the watchman describes her as being very manly;
'So she commands, full of her high hopes.
That woman - she manoeuvres like a man.'
In Ancient Greece this would not be seen as a compliment. Pericles said of women;
'The highest praise you can win is to be spoken of by men as little as possible whether for good or evil.'
Women in Ancient Greece were expected to stay in the home and to be very reserved and timid. Clytaemnestra disobeys all these unwritten laws by being very bold and cunning. She shows all her strong traits in the murder of her husband. Clytaemnestra shows no remorse after killing Agamemnon, nor does she show any fear or worry before killing him.
The chorus explain how Clytaemnestra has no fear of her husband;
'the architect of vengeance growing strong in the house, with no fear of the husband here she waits, the terror raging back and back in the future'
This quotation suggests a possible motive for Clytaemnestra's actions of murdering her husband.
Clytaemnestra's possible motives play a large part in the play, being mentioned quite frequently.
Her motive, as the above quotation suggests, may have been vengeance. Clytaemnestra had numerous reasons as to why she would want vengeance on Agamemnon. Firstly, the sacrifice of one of their children, Iphigenia. This seems a plausible reason for her actions, however other circumstances suggest Clytaemnestra wasn't a motherly figure. Orestes, her son, was sent away so he could not kill her lover, Aegisthus on the behalf of his father. Her other daughter Electra, is not mentioned.
'And so, our child is gone'
This is one among many quotations from Clytaemnestra which could imply they only had one child. In the play Iphigenia in Aulis it is said that Clytaemnestra intercedes and tries to persuade Agamemnon not to kill her 'sweet flower', however this is not mentioned in Agamemnon. Similarly, Clytaemnestra wondered how she could welcome her husband at home, if he was to become the murderer of their daughter. This is why she also warned and exhorted him;
'In the gods' name, my husband, do not force me to be a disloyal wife to you; nor be disloyal yourself.'
Another possible motive could have been to gain power. Throughout the play there are quotations which suggest her annoyance of being dismissed due to being a woman;
'That is what a woman has to say'
Another quotation which suggests her interest in gaining power is;
'You and I have power now.'
This quotation also suggests however, the possibility of her motives being connected to her love for Aegisthus. A woman who had killed...