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Essay/Term paper: Agamemnon

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Agamemnon


Agamemnon is a confusing tale of the people that are waiting for the
soldiers to get home from the Trojan war. Most of the play is the chorus
singing about many of the things that happened during the war. The play also
shows the disrespect the men had for women in that time period.

In front of Agamemnon's palace, a watchman wishes his shift would end.
He is tired and wants to sleep but he must stay awake. He awaits news from
Queen Clytemnestra.

The Chorus of Argive elders enters, singing of the war. They sing of
the gods, asking for them to help them win the war, and of the great army. They
anxiously await the news from the Queen.

In the song, they tell how Agamemnon killed his child. He sacrificed
his daughter to Apollo so that Apollo would make the winds blow for his armies
ships. The chorus thinks that deed was horrible, but had to be done for the
good of the country.

The leader asks Clytemnestra if she's heard any news. He doesn't like
being ruled by a woman and treats her somewhat rudely. He only listens to her
because of his loyalty to his King. She tells the leader that the army has
taken Troy. The leader is skeptical and asks her to repeat herself several
times. The Queen gets angry and tells him she is not a "credulous girl."

When the leader asks how Clytemnestra found out the city was taken so
quickly, she tells him that one God delivered the message to another and so on.
He yet again asks her, which makes it seem he thinks she is a young girl with
little sense. When the leader finally accepts her answer, he belittles her
again by saying it was "worthy of a wise man's utterance." Although the Queen
has power while the King is gone, it means almost nothing to the leader because
she is female.

The chorus, hearing the news, sing again. They thank the Gods for their
help. They sing of sinful, childish Paris and Helen, bringer of war, and the
shame they should feel.

A Herald tells everyone basically the same thing the Queen said. The
leader finally believes it's the truth, since a man spoke the words. Everyone
is happy and awaits the army's return.

Agamemnon is welcomed home by the chorus. They sing of how proud they
are of him. Agamemnon feels he's done justice. His wife seems to forget the
pain over her dead child and welcomes him home. He is humble and rejects all
the praise. He doesn't want the Gods to envy him.

Agamemnon brought a slave back with him, Cassandra. Clytemnestra tells
her that she's lucky to be alive and should be happy to be a slave. The leader
tries to get Cassandra out of the chariot but she won't move, she only chants.
She chants to the Gods and puts a curse on Agamemnon.

This play is very confusing, mainly due to the chorus. They sing
vaguely of the war, and it's very hard to interpret. This play does show the
way women were treated at that time. Although the Queen was in charge, she was
looked down on because she was a woman.

Works Cited

Aeschylus, Agamemnon, gopher://gopher.vt.edu:10010/02/34/1, 1996.




 

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