Agamemnon Study Guide
Everything you ever wanted to know about Clytemnestra in Agamemnon, it's hard to doubt that Clytemnestra will be wearing the crown in their relationship. Meet Clytemnestra, whose father was the king of Sparta and whose husband was King Agamemnon of Mycenae. Discover how one act of deception led to. Aug 11, This theatre developed in some relation to the god Dionysus. . Orestes, son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra; brother of Iphigenia; murders .. clash again providing low comic contrast to Lysistrata's serious advice.
The play focuses on Oedipus' urgent drive to know the truth. Being an impetuous man as well as a powerful king, Oedipus is rude and hostile toward anyone who seems to interfere with his search, especially the seer Tiresias who knows the truth but does not want to tell it to Oedipus. The terrible irony of this play is that Oedipus himself turns out to be the source of pollution, the cause of the plague, the murderer of his father and the husband of his mother.
He finally discovers the truth, and knowing it destroys his life as king of Thebes. Oedipus responds to this terrible knowledge by blinding himself and at the end of the play he is prepared to leave Thebes and wander in the wilderness, knowing himself and knowing that his entire life was spent fulfilling his fated destiny.
We must be careful not to blame Oedipus for what he did, nor to think of his final exile as punishment. It clings to a man as something hostile, and from without, and that can be spread from him to others like an infectious disease. Hence, the purification is effected by religious processes directed to the external removal of the evil thing.
Pollution is a fascinating index of a true difference between our contemporary culture and that of classical Greece. Our system of morality and justice is based firmly on the idea that each sane person is or can be responsible for his or her own actions, and that those actions can be "paid" for.
We simply cannot accept the notion that a person could carry a moral disease like a virus without being personally responsible for it, and that this moral disease could sicken others just as physical viruses carry the flu from one "innocent" person to the next.
The only exception we generally make is for insanity, which is why some people tried for crimes plead "insanity" to explain that they were NOT responsible.
However, Oedipus is absolutely sane; there is no question here of insanity. It is useful to notice where other times and places are genuinely different from ours and pollution is a good example of such a genuine difference. This is a difficult situation for us to identify with, yet Medea is an easy play to read and relate to because of the powerful psychological presentation of the mad, murderous, yet grieving mother.
Medea is a powerful, dangerous witch. After committing various criminal acts including several murders to help her lover, Jason, Medea has fled into exile with him to Corinth.
Here Jason deserts her and marries the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. It begins with the Nurse worried about Medea's children; she evidently knows Medea well and fears for their lives. Creon, the King of Corinth and father of Jason's new bride intends to drive Medea and her children by Jason out of the city into exile. Medea pleads with Creon for one day's time before she leaves.
Next comes a really disgusting scene in which Jason, an unbelievably smooth and egotistical rat, says that if Medea had only behaved nicely, she could have stayed in Corinth.
He further claims to have married the princess in order to consolidate the position of his and Medea's children. Medea doesn't buy that lame excuse. Medea schemes to prepare her revenge on Jason. First, she arranges for her own safety by promising the childless King Aegeus of Athens that if he gives her refuge she will enable him to have children. Next, Medea sends her own children to Jason's new bride, carrying rich gifts of a robe and tiara, supposedly to soften the princess' heart so that she and her father will let Medea's children stay in Corinth, even though Medea must leave.
But the gifts are in fact poisoned, and when the princess puts them on, not only does she die, but her father embraces her and he too dies from the poison. Finally, Medea leaves Corinth in a dragon wagon, taking the bodies of the two dead children so that Jason won't even have the satisfaction of burying them. Not only is this her ultimate touch of revenge, but it is a good example of a deus ex machina ending.
Medea's actions had made so much trouble that there was no way she could escape by natural means, so Euripides provided her a wagon pulled by a dragon. Euripides makes Medea strangely sympathetic in her murderous sufferings. She loves her children and yet she is finally willing to kill them in order to complete her total revenge against their father.
The most disturbing aspect of this play to modern readers is that Medea gets away with murdering her own children as well as Jason's new wife and her father. And even though the Classical Greeks put women in a subservient role, still they were given opportunities to educate themselves. In Sparta the wives of the Spartans were amongst the freest because their only role was the rearing of their children. Today women need to think of other roles besides child-rearing. Many countries are burdened by too many children that the women have raised because that is their only role.
Society needs to change, both men and women. The study of ancient Greek women may help this. Your study of these women may help with this too. But it seems so unfair, and so women unfriendly. But this situation Clytemnestra was in screams for a more womkan-friendly view. It was really Agamemnon who was the bad type in my opinion. Menelaus was kind and loving, it seems.
And Helena was very much in love with him, I think. Not now, and not then. I personally think Paris abducted her in the true sense of the word.
So how come his brother Agamemnon was such a bad man? What happened to him that he turned out to be so evil? Because someone who willingly murders a newborn baby, is pretty evil in my opinion. Killing something in a war or in a battle is another thing. That happens, and in those days it happened a lot. Even killing someone in a rage or out of frustration or jealousy or sorrow is something I can understand.
But it can be understandable in some cases.
Clytemnestra - The Role of Women in the Art of Ancient Greece
By the way, is it known what her baby boy from Tantalus was called? And do you know how old Clytemnestra was when she married Tantalus?
And why did she marry him at such an early age? I read somewhere that Tantalus was an old man? How old was he?
Was she in love with him? Or do you think they WERE mature enough? That an 11 year old girl from could never be compared to a year old girl in Greece BC? Is there anything known about their youths? Of Helena, Clytemnestra and their twin brothers? And there was another sister Phoebe? Just that she existed. Was she older or younger than the 4 hatchlings from the swan eggs? And you mention another sister. You also said they both died young. So you DO know something about these two sisters.
So it was a father and a mother and 6 children in that household? Four girls and two boys? I like reading about the myths. But I would like it much, much more if somewhere there would be some info about their real lives. You know, the daily routine. What their youth was like. What kind of things they did when they were just teens, but already had babies. Did they care for their children themselves? Do you know anything about their youths and teen years? I have another question.
But what do you think? When I read about that Greek era, there are lots of mythical aspects. There were Gods, and godesses, and titans, and all other sorts of divine figures.
There was mount Olympus, and the Gods and Godesses were immortal, and they had special powers. When you look at the lives of Clytemnestra and Helena, it already starts at their beginning. Zeus changed into a swan and raped Leda, and there were two eggs. Helena and Clytemnestra in one egg, and the boys in the other. Believing something and not needing proof? The same with this. I think miracles can happen. If you believe in God, and I do, then no miracle is totally unbelievable or unpossible.
That whole Greek myth system is a lot to digest, even if you do believe in miracles. If it all happened just like that, then the world was a very different world then we now know. Well, who knows; maybe it was. But what do you believe? Did these strange things really happen like it is told? Are the myths for real? People like Homerus and Eudipidus and others wrote about these figures. So there is written history in a way. But these were authors, poets.
So if they wanted to make it nicer or more fantastic, that they mixed fiction with reality? They could have, and they probably did. And can we be sure? Because I think men like Homerus wrote stories in a very beautiful way even back then they must have agreed about thatbut he also probably wrote it like it was custom to do.
Because that would be much more interesting in my view. I love reading about the myths; we all do. What their characters were like.
Now a last question. They were called Helena, Phoebe and what-was-her-name? So they were given their own names too. They have real qualities. By studying the available literature you will realize that Agamamnon was not as bad as you think, nor was Meneleus as good.
It turns out your belief in love potions is not that important. What is important is the beliefs of the people that use them. Paragraph 2 — Anyway, I think — The main value of the Iliad and the Odyssey is the discussion of ethics. Some people believe every action can be judged by rules.
Some believe each action must be judged in context. To decide you will have to carefully judge each each action in context. The good thing about the ancient Greeks is that they provide lots of material for this. She ads that Agamemnon then married her by force, and the implication is thus that his motive for the murders was to obtain her, although the test does not actually say that. Apollodorus repeats the story, ApE2. He would be part of a larger family group ruled by his father or grandfather.
When the wife came into the group she would be ruled more by her mother-in-law than by her husband. The husband and wife might sleep together but that is all. During the day the men would go outside the home to work and the women would work together inside the home. The new wife might be taught weaving, sewing and similar domestic skills.
She might cook, but this is not documented. She would have a specialized function in a larger group of women. Slaves would do the water fetching and cleaning.
In the evening there would be a social time involving a meal. Even then it was common for the man and women to be separate. The woman slaves would wait on the men while the women had their own event.
Paragraph 4 — Is there anything known — Though little can be stated with certainly there are valuable conjectures that can be made. Euripides seems to think that not much had changed in Sparta from his time to the time of the Trojan war.
So your can study what has been written about Sparta to get an idea about the life of the youth. Some reasonable conclusions that can be drawn include: The were raised by wet nurses; they remained naked until they were five, their education consisted of sports contests,etc.
The one thing we know about was that Helen was abducted by Theseus when she was twelve. He may have impregnated her.
This may have not been that rare at that time.
Another fact is that Helen was dancing in the temple of Artemis Orthia when she was abducted. She knew how to dance and she participated in religious ceremonies. We know from archaeology that they were mainly into raising sheep and making cloth from those sheep.
This was exported to great distance. They were so wealthy that they built great palaces of stone. The only work Helen might have done was weaving. While she was weaving her brothers would be out hunting. Unlike most people she slept in her own room but she was not alone. A slave maid slept at the foot of her bed and another slept outside her door.
Each palace was a village unto itself with most of the people having the status of a slave. Their interrelationships could only have been provocative since two of them were immortal, thinking and reacting accordingly.
But at this point it is hard to distinguish between the mortality or immortality of Helen. Polydeuces is the only immortal in the group. But this is strange because an immortal needs no childhood. Paragraph 5 — I have another question — The writing about the ancient Greek deities is a test of your religious tolerance.
I consider that these stories about the ancient Greek religion to be about the same thing as the Christian Bible. It is nice to know the causes of things but many things happen that are not possible of explanation and one must resolve yourself to them.
They myths provide understanding of things that could not otherwise be known. He invited the gods to a banquet and served the flesh of his own son, Pelops, in a stew to test their omniscience. All of the gods recognized what they were served immediately except Demeter. She was too concerned with the disappearance of Persephone to notice and ate Pelops' shoulder. The gods reconstructed the boy and Hephaestus made a new shoulder for Pelops out of ivory.
For his wrongdoing, Tantalus was doomed to Tartarus, where he stood in a pool of water. When he would try to drink, the water would recede. Additionally, fruit would hang from trees just above him, but would move away when he tried to pick them. Odysseus sees Tantalus in Book 11 of the Odyssey. Meanwhile, Oenomaus was ruling over Pisa in the northwest Peloponnesus, and was in love with his own daughter, Hippodamia. To prevent her from marrying anyone else, he offered her as a prize in an impossible contest.
The suitor had to take Hippodamia away in a chariot and race with a head start towards Corinth. However, Oenomaus always caught up to the suitor with his team of horses sired by the wind, and invariably killed the suitor and put his head on display at the door of his palace. Pelops decided to try his luck and sailed from Lydia to Pisa with his golden-winged chariot drawn by tireless horses, a gift from Poseidon. He also paid off Myrtilus, the king's charioteer, promising him the first night in bed with Hippodamia or a sack of gold, in another version.
Myrtilus sabotaged the Oenomaus' chariot, replacing the bronze linchpins with wax, which melted from the heat of the axles as the king raced off.
The chariot collapsed, and the reins wound up dragging the king to death. Pelops refused to give Myrtilus his reward and when he saw him moving to take her, Pelops threw him into the sea. The dying curse of Myrtilus affected Pelops' line for generations to come. Pelops then entered Pisa, became its king and named the land "Peloponnesus", meaning "island of Pelops".
He fathered several sons, including Thyestes, the father of Aegisthus, and Atreus, the father of Menelaus and Agamemnon.