The Chorus of old men briefly recounts the story of the Trojan War in all its fateful relations. She has been nursing a grudge for many years since Agamemnon had sacrificed their daughter, Iphigeniaat the start of the Trojan War in order to to appease the offended god Artemis. Worse still, when Agamemnon does return, he brings with him Cassandraan enslaved Trojan priestess of Apollo, as his concubine, further angering Clytemnestra. After the Chorus of old men, much of the main action of the play revolves around the antagonism and debate between Clytemnestra and Agamemnon.
Make the best case you can for Agamemnon as a man who does not deserve his fate. The first mention we hear of Agamemnon is from the Watchman, who speaks of longing to take his master's loved hand in his. The Chorus, even though they are ready to criticize the king when they feel he deserves it, also clearly feel both love and loyalty to him.
He must have ruled well before the war, or the simple fact that he is the rightful king would not have generated such good will. As for the sacrifice of Iphigeneia, no one questions that the war against Troy is a just war, since the city by sheltering Paris and Helen shares the guilt of the violation of the sacred bond between guest and host.
Moreover, all the Greek leaders had taken a solemn oath before Helen chose her husband that they would all make war against anyone who took her from him. Yet the war cannot be fought if the ships cannot sail, and it is clear that the favorable winds will only blow if Iphigeneia is sacrificed.
Even though Aeschylus has the Chorus condemn Agamemnon, they also repeat the words he spoke as he struggled with what to do, faced with such a choice of evils.
They report him as having felt to the full the horror of killing his daughter, yet as faced with a whole army demanding that the sacrifice be made, and as recognizing that their demand is a rightful one.
Some have criticized him for yielding to Clytemnestra in walking on the precious tapestries, but surely that criticism is too harsh.
He feels to the full the inappropriateness of a mere mortal taking an honor due only to the gods, but he also seems to feel some affection for his wife-if winning the victory in this contest means so much to her, he is willing to let her win. As for his entrusting Cassandra to her with the request that she be kind, the right of a man to take concubines was not questioned at that time, and he was no more unreasonable than every other man in expecting his wife to accept the presence of a concubine.
Moreover, he shows his humanity in requesting his wife to be gentle with Cassandra.
It is not surprising that Cassandra says no word against him, and it strengthens the case for him immensely that she feels only horror at the prospect of his death at his wife's hand. Finally, the legitimacy of his rule is underlined by the readiness of the Chorus to die rather than accept a tyrant, and by their longing for the coming of Orestes, the rightful heir.
Make the best case you can for Clytemnestra. Clytemnestra is a strong woman caught in a world in which people praise women for being like men, yet are horrified when they show the strength and courage of men to avenge their wrongs.
Our sympathy is drawn to her from the beginning, when the Watchman speaks of her as a woman with a man's capacity for wisdom, yet the Chorus honor her only because she is the king's wife, praise her for speaking like a sensible man, yet are ready to scorn her for believing the beacons-just like a woman!
How bitterly she feels such attitudes is revealed when she constantly alludes ironically to herself as a mere woman again and again. In portraying her this way, Aeschylus shows that he understands how hard it is to be a woman in a world where women are so undervalued.
Homer only mentions Clytemnestra as a bad wife, one whose behavior will make men distrust all women forever. Aeschylus, even though he probably did not sympathize with her as much as a modern audience would, still does her far more justice, and gives us a sympathetic enough portrayal that it is even possible to have more sympathy with Clytemnestra than Agamemnon, whatever Aeschylus intended.
In the early part of the play, it is Clytemnestra who sympathizes with the common soldiers who, now that Troy is taken, will finally be able to eat their fill and sleep peacefully in beds, with no watch set.
It is Clytemnestra who sees clearly that the Greeks will only return safely if they honor the altars and temples of the gods-neither the Herald nor Agamemnon says a word that indicates that they understand that their actions have brought on the storm that destroyed so much of the fleet.
Even the false words in which she speaks of her longing for her husband's return remind us of the real suffering of the woman who must stay at home and wait while her husband fights, even if in this case what she is waiting for is the chance to avenge her daughter's death.
It goes without saying that the Chorus's vivid description of the suffering of Iphigeneia rouses our sympathy for her mother. The story was that Agamemnon told Clytemnestra to bring Iphigeneia so that she could marry Achilles, and Aeschylus mentions garments that seem to have been intended to be wedding garments, adding another drop of bitterness to what Clytemnestra had to suffer.
And Agamemnon's arrogance and weakness make him seem an utterly inadequate husband for so strong and intelligent a woman.Essay Q&A: 1. Make the best case you can for Agamemnon as a man who does not deserve his fate.
The first mention we hear of Agamemnon is from the Watchman, who speaks of longing to take his master's loved hand in his. Agamemnon: Essay Q&A, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
(Chorus): "Long spoken among men, there exists an old saying that a man's prosperity grown fully great has offspring, not dying childless; his line's good fortune bears shoots of insatiable woe.
I differ from others, alone in my thinking: it is the impious deed which later on begets more deeds that resemble their own parentage; for to houses upright and just fine children are destined forever.". Chorus Intervention in Aeschylus' the Eumenides and Agamemnon Words 3 Pages In The Eumenides and Agamemnon of The Oresteia trilogy, Aeschylus constructs an over-arching metaphor for elements of the new Athenian democracy.
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