Electra

Electra

Electra

Electra

Excerpt

Homer describes in the Odyssey how Aegisthus, though divinely warned of the consequences, persuaded Agamemnon's wife to come away to his home; how, when Agamemnon returned from Troy, Aegisthus slew him 'like an ox at a stall' (Od. 4. 535) with his concubine Cassandra; and how, Orestes, returning from Athens, killed his father's murderer and made a funeral feast for him and Clytemnestra to the Argives, thus establishing himself as a model of pietas for Telemachus to copy. Clytemnestra plays a subordinate role in the story. Like her sister Helen, she is willing enough to be seduced in the end, though at first she resists her paramour's advances (, Od. 3. 266-72). But, except in the later eleventh book, where she dispatches Cassandra with her own hand, she takes no physical part in the bloodshed, though she helps to plan her husband's murder (Od. 3. 234-5; 4. 91-2); and there is nothing to show that she falls by the hand of Orestes. Homer's curiously reticent language (Od. 3. 309-10) leaves open the possibility that she kills herself.

In the Epic Cycle certain important details are filled in, and the story begins to assume the shape known to us in Attic drama. In the Cypria Iphigencia is sacrificed at the prompting of Calchas, and in the Nostoi of Agias Agamemnon . . .

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