Critical essays on agamemnon

by Aeschylus

Despite the fifth century b. It cannot be a coincidence that all seven extant tragedies, while less than onetwelfth of his total corpus, reflect a constant Aeschylean concern with the theme of human suffering and its causes. Again and again, the plays of Aeschylus suggest that human suffering is divine punishment caused by human transgressions and that people bring on themselves their own sorrows by overstepping their human bounds through hybris, hubris or excessive pride.

At the same time, the role of the gods, and especially of Zeus, in this sequence of human action and human suffering is of particular interest to Aeschylus, whose plays seek in Zeus a source of justice and of fair retribution despite the vagaries of an apparently unjust world.

Instead of the jubilant Greek victory ode that this drama could have become in the hands of a less perceptive artist, The Persians , presenting events from the viewpoint of the defeated Persians rather than that of the victorious Greeks, transforms the specific, historical events into a general, universal dramatization of defeat and its causes, of hubristic actions and their punishment.

The tragedy, set in the palace of Xerxes at Sousa, far from the events with which it is concerned, sacrifices the immediacy of the battlefield for a broadened perspective. No details of the battle are provided by the messenger until the queen requests them, and there follow several messenger reports, one listing Persian losses, another describing the sea battle at Salamis, a third the nearby land battle, and, finally, one announcing the losses in the fleet on the return journey.

These reports are interrupted by brief interchanges between the messenger and the queen, in which both speakers respond in two or more lines of trimeter. Rarely in this early play can be found the rapid stichomythia, or conversation in alternate lines of trimeter, that is later used so effectively by two or more speakers in Greek tragedy. The messenger scene substantiates the earlier fears of the queen and the chorus with the reality of defeat, and the dramatic effect of the series of speeches is like a sequence of disastrous waves on the Persian nation. The messenger scene dramatizes the actuality of the Persian defeat, but the causes of this defeat are not explained until the second episode, in which Atossa and the chorus call forth the ghost of Darius as they had planned to do before the arrival of the messenger.

It is Darius who, as a ghost, has the atemporal perspective to link cause and effect and to explain the defeat of his son Xerxes.

Darius makes this most explicit in his prophecy of the Persian defeat at Plataea b. The arrival of the defeated Xerxes in the exodos, or last scene, is, in a sense, an undramatic but necessary anticlimax to the psychopomp of Darius in the second episode. The scene with Xerxes is a purely lyric lament in which no further dramatic or thematic development is achieved. There is, in fact, no reference in the exodos to the appearance of Darius or to his explanation of events.


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The drama ends with Xerxes, still unconscious of his own fatal role in the disaster, giving himself over to uninhibited lamentation. This ignorance is a significant feature of Greek tragedy, and of Aeschylean tragedy in particular, a fact that has been obfuscated by Aristotelian criticism. In his Poetics , Aristotle placed great emphasis on a tragic fall peripeteia linked with recognition anagnorisis and tragic flaw hamartia.

Most Greek tragedies cannot be successfully interpreted through Aristotelian terminology; certainly not The Persians , in which there is no recognition anagnorisis of his tragic flaw hamartia by Xerxes. The theological and ethical system suggested in The Persians can also be seen in Agamemnon , a play in which the theme of pride and its punishment is complicated by the issues of blood guilt and family curse.

The plot is not historical in the modern sense of the word, but rather mythical, which, for the Greeks, was also historical, and it is concerned with the homecoming of Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek forces in the Trojan War, and with his subsequent brutal murder by his wife, Clytemnestra, and his cousin Aegisthus.

A Literary Analysis of Clytemnestra's Character in Agamemnon by Aeschylus

The story is at least as old as Homer, who uses it in the Odyssey c. In Homer, the tale is used as an exemplum of filial duty and feminine deception: Telemachus should show as much fidelity to his missing father as Orestes did to his late father, Agamemnon, and on his visit to Hades, Odysseus is warned by the ghost of Agamemnon to beware of the guile of women. The parodos of Agamemnon deals with the past.

This sacrifice presented a dilemma for Agamemnon. On the other hand, the departing Greeks had offended the goddess Artemis, who would not permit departure until Iphigenia was sacrificed. Agamemnon was thus placed in the impossible situation of either offending Zeus or killing his own daughter. He reluctantly chose the latter course. The hubris of Agamemnon, implied in the first ode, becomes more explicit in the second episode, when a messenger arrives to confirm the fall of Troy and to report that even the temples of the gods at Troy have been destroyed. Agamemnon himself refers to this carpet as an honor befitting the gods alone and asks that he should be respected as a mortal, not a god.

Although hubris is not mentioned in this scene, there is no need to do so. Agamemnon dies, then, for his own sins. There are, however, further considerations: There is Cassandra, a Trojan princess whom Agamemnon has brought home as his slave and mistress.

Agamemnon Notes & Analysis

On one hand we have Agamemnon's uncompromising position and his good qualities, and on the other, we have Clytemnestra and her reasons for killing her husband. We shall start with Agamemnon. The first time we Much can be expressed about the age old saying that the punishment must fit the crime, that if actions are committed, there must be an equal response, and that in all things there must—and will be—recompense.

Agamemnon Agamemnon is the first book in the Orestiean Trilogy written by the famous Greek tragedy writer, Aeschylus. Agamemnon is a story of justice and revenge. The story takes place in a city called Argos.

Literary Devices in Agamemnon

It starts with Agamemnon, the king of Argos, away at the Trojan War. The city is eagerly Throughout the ages of literature, darkness has often been used as symbolic in representation for evil, concealment, and blindness. In the opening of Agamemnon, the darkness that consumed the scene was used for effect in order to convey indirectly, themes of evil, concealment, and blindness. In Aeschylus' Agamemnon there are many different opinions about what kind of king and commander Agamemnon was.

Some argued that he was good, while others dispute that his motives were wrong. Clytemnestra, Agamemnon's wife, gained a strong hatred for him, after he sacrificed his own daughter so he The Watchman:? The watchman sets the time and place for the play Agamemnon's palace in Argos, the house of Atreus ; he describes the many miserable nights he has spent on the In attempting to do a character analysis of Agamemnon, there were several things that I took into consideration. Throughout the enitre epic that is the Iliad, Homer gives us a choice.

HC, #60,Aeschylus’ The Agamemnon, C

Do we believe that the gods of Mt. Olympus control and interfere in human lives creating the many dramas that is the Greek life or do humans control their own destiny while using the gods as an excuse for their misfortunes?

A Literary Analysis of Clytemnestra's Character in Agamemnon by Aeschylus | Kibin

Achilles, Agamemnon and Hektor, three great heroes with different characteristics. In the center of ancient Greek history are the big heroes, Gods and Goddesses but one of the heroes described with mastery is Achilles the Greek hero who is not described with disdain like other Greek heroes but Agamemnon and Clytemnestra had four Baah Schliemann was a German archeologist who excavated the shaft graves of Mycenae. He found a mask which has been claimed to be the mask of Agamemnon. This has brought up endless debates about the The characters in Aeschylus' Agamemnon create only fear and no pity in each other and in the audience.

I agree with this statement to a certain extent, however, I think it does not represent the whole of the Agamemnon.