? “Agamemnon” Essay, Research Paper
In Aeschylus’s, Agamemnon, there is a great possibility that the death of Agamemnon could have been prevented, had the Chorus simply listened to Cassandra’s prophecy. But the words spoken between the two parties seem to have loss it’s meaning when it fell upon the Chorus; yet, they were obviously hearing what she was saying. But while they were hearing what she had to say, they did not listen to her words. Ironically, in this story, it is the women who posses all the knowledge. But once they try to share it, the men, who later suffer the consequence, ignore them. People only listen to what they want to hear, and a woman’s word is not considered important enough to listen to.
Klytaimestra has thought up an ingenious plan to uncover the outcome of the Trojan War as quickly as possible; however, when she tries to share the news, the Chorus castoffs her declaration. This constant stichomythia between the Chorus and Klytaimestra annoys her because of the persistent disbelief, “And you have proof?/That, or a phantom spirit sends you into raptures” (272-274). The Chorus, which consists of men, do not accept that a woman can have any sort of knowledge before they do. They dismiss her claims until they hear it from a male messenger, which makes Klytaimestra very angry: “I cried out long ago!/You made me seem deranged” (580-586). Further, when she explains how she discovered the outcome, the men automatically assume that because she is a woman, she got her information from gossiping. “Just like a woman/to fill with thanks before the truth is clear . . . So gullible. Their stories spread like wildfire,/they fly fast and die faster;/rumours voiced by women come to nothing.”
(474-478). To the Chorus, a woman to devise a plan as clever as Klytaimestra’s, is inconceivable. But even after Klytaimestra’s facts are proven, the Chorus will later undermine her abilities again.
After coming out of the house with blood stained hands while announcing her murder, all the Chorus can do is talk about what a great loss they suffer. They accuse Klytaimestra for being a backstabber, and tell her she should be punished. When Klytaimestra defends her actions by pointing out how Agamemnon killed her daughter, they ignore her and keep mourning. Even though they can see with their own eyes that Klytaimestra killed her husband and Cassandra, they still refuse to really listen to her, as if they do not want to believe that a woman committed the murder of their almighty king. In fact, they just think of her as a curse, not someone who has justification to why she murdered her husband. Klytaimestra’s explanation fall of deaf ears when they threaten to exile her: “And now you sentence me?/ . . . But he-/name one charge you brought against him then/ . . . he sacrificed his own child, our daughter,/the agony I laboured into love . . .” (1438-1443). Even after a reasonably well-argued defense, the Chorus insists that she is just power hungry: “Mad with ambition/shrilling pride” (1452-1453). No matter what she said, the Chorus disregarded it; that is, until Aegisthus steps out to admit he is part of the crime. Once the Chorus had a man to blame, they flew into arms, when in reality, Aegisthus had nothing to do with the murder. Their ignorance also blinds them to Agamemnon’s death.
The Chorus had a chance to prevent Agamemnon’s death if they only listened to Cassandra, Agamemnon’s Trojan concubine. Cassandra’s prophecy foretold the king’s death in the murderous house, along with seeing past murders. One would think that because she could see past crimes, the Chorus would take her word more seriously, but the Chorus treated her as they did with Klytaimestra when she first came out with the news from Troy. Cassandra explains her curse of how she has prophecies, but nobody will believe her, although the Chorus does seem sympathetic: “We believe you. Your visions seem so true” (1219). However, when she reveals the murder of Agamemnon, the Chorus look upon her as a blabbering nutcase. As if to humor her, they ask her what man could do such a horrible crime, and Cassandra gives a frustrated response: “Man?/You are lost, to every word I’ve said” (1264-1265). Seeing her attempts of searching for help are futile, Cassandra walks into the house, fully knowing what is to come of her. Moments pass until dying screams are heard, and the Chorus seems stunned, when Cassandra told them her prophecy a short time ago.
All in all, the Chorus seems to ignore what the women in the story have to say, simply because they are women, unfortunately, they do suffer the outcome in the end. Throughout Agamemnon, there are attempts made by the women to be heard, and each time, they get rejected. Based upon the time period, it is customary for the woman to be obedient and silent, ignorant to the world outside the household. So, when a powerful aggressive woman like Klytaimestra tries to gain their attention, the men assume that it is not important. After all, what could a woman possibly know about war and justice? It seems as if the only time a man will listen is if their ego is being stroked, for example, when Klytaimestra convinces Agamemnon to step onto the red tapestry.