Clytemnestra S Role In Agamemnon. Essay, Research Paper
Clytemnestra s role in Agamemnon.
Agamemnon is a great Greek tragedy play. It s a story of the Trojan War, which lasted for ten years and greatly influenced the future. As true for any war, not only the men took part in it. Most of the women were somehow involved but each one from a different aspect of the war. Each woman brought her own unique perspective. Troy women such as Andromache, Briseis, Cassandra, Creusa and more got to see the war first-hand. Others like Clytemnestra, Deidameia, Laodamia, and Penelope waited in distant lands for the war to end, and some women took a more active stance in the war by wielding swords and fighting. Penthesilea and the Amazons were the two women who participated in battle. The Trojan War turned lives upside down and created a vast array of myths. The Trojan War affected many women. None were affected more than Clytemnestra.
Clytemnestra was the daughter of Tyndareus and Leda and therefore was Helen’s half-sister. Her father betrothed her to Tantalus while she was still a virgin. Because Tantalus was the son of Thyestes who was the king of Mycenae, Clytemnestra automatically became a queen. Soon after their marriage she gave birth to a son, named Tantalus. After the birth of their child, Tantalus and his newborn were killed by Agamemnon who also obtained Clytemnestra as property from the man whom he just defeated. This was the first real big tragedy in Clytemnestra s life caused by Agamemnon. After the death of her son and husband she saw Agamemnon become king. She had three children with Agamemnon, Iphigenia, Electra and Orestes. When the war began, Agamemnon sacrificed Iphinia to Artemis so he could go to fight at Troy. After the sacrifice of her daughter, Clytemnestra was devastated and was furious with her husband s decision.
While Agamemnon was fighting at Troy, Aegithus wooed Clytemnestra who succumbed to his advances. According to the myth, she was destined to be an adulteress from her childhood. When her father neglected a very important sacrifice to Aphrodite earlier in his life, she placed a curse on their family and said that all of his daughters would be adulteresses. Clytemnestra bore Aegisthus a daughter, Erigone. She was still infuriated with Agamemnon for sacrificing her daughter and began to compose plans to try to kill him. When Agamemnon returned home with his newly won prize Cassandra, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus murdered them both. Some believe that Agamemnon was killed because he brought over Cassandra as a concubine but I believe that the murder was planned before the information that Agamemnon was bringing anyone back.
Their crime did not go unpunished. When Agamemnon s son Orestes reached adulthood, he returned and killed both, his mother and her lover. Clytemnestra begged for her life but to no avail, she was murdered in the same way she murdered her husband.
I think that she played a huge part in the play. He actions caused many deaths and much more grief to people across the land. She murdered a king in her husband, a totally innocent woman who she thought was being brought as a concubine in Cassandra and paid with her life for her actions. She is in many respects a sympathetic character, but her entanglement taints the righteousness of her crime with Aegisthus. Even so, it is clear that Agamemnon’s death had to be avenged.
Clytemnestra is a highly controversial character in mythology. While it is true that she committed adultery, which can be blamed on Aphrodite’s curse. It is also true that she killed her husband, though that, too, can be blamed on the fact Agamemnon killed her daughter with Tantalus and sacrificed their daughter so he could go fight in the war. He also brought back with Cassandra who was to be his concubine. It is harder to reconcile Clytemnestra’s approval of the plan to murder her son, Orestes, because she had protested the sacrifice of Iphigenia so vehemently, but I think that she knew that he would come after her to avenge his father s death.
Some people say that in all respects Clytemnestra was a victim, not only of her insensitive husband and her scheming lover, but also her own wounded vanity and self-esteem.
As the play goes on the chorus and other characters see her in very negative terms and in my opinion her actions do not prove them wrong. Even though she says that she is killing Agamemnon because he killed her daughter and gave another one away to go to war, she is forgetting that she also murdered a totally innocent woman in Cassandra. Even if Cassandra was not murdered then her actions could have been more justified. By first killing Clytemnestra’s and Tantalus daughter Agamemnon should of known that there would be revenge from either Tantalus family or from his wife. Nothing in Greek mythology goes unpunished, especially not murder. Clytemnestra should have realized that when planning to kill one of the most powerful men in the land. Its understandably how upset she was by the death of her daughter and how much she wanted to pay back Agamemnon but I don t think that murdering him and his mistress was the right solution. All she did with her actions is dug her own grave and caused great grief to a lot of people all across the land. This is one of the earliest cases where a very famous saying of Two wrongs do not make a right is very true.
Another way to try to justify her actions is her involvement with Aegisthus. While planning for the murder of her husband Clytemnestra said that one of the reasons she was doing it, was because he was bringing home a mistress. I think that she is forgetting that she had done something just as bad. How can she expect to be forgiven for her cheating because of a curse? I am a firm believer in superstition and in future telling but she blames all her troubles on the curse of Aphrodite. I think that this is a ridiculous accusation to make. There were a lot of curses in the play, which did come true, but most of them were not by the choice of the person. She was in total control of the situation and still made the choice to commit adultery. This choice would eventually cost her dearly. I think that most of the opinions on Clytemnestra are correct and she definitely was at fault for a lot of things in her life including her own death.
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