Aeschylus: Passions/Emotion V. Reason/Disinterestedness
Yet, the women create the real interest in the plays. Their characters are the impetus that makes everything occur. The most complex and compelling character in the three plays is Clytaemnestra. Clytaemnestra is consumed with thoughts of revenge. She seeks vengeance on Agamemnon for the loss of their daughter, Iphigeneia whose life was forfeited in order to appease the goddess Artemis so that Agamemnon's troops would be allowed passage to the Trojan shore.
She holds really power over men, her husband also included. Towards the end of the story, there is role reversing between men and women, Clytaemnestra, remains as the only woman in charge; she bosses to Aegisthus and the Chorus as the only male characters around her, these two characters acts like women despite the fact that they represent men (Slayford-Wei, (2010). The chorus of men was initially disrespective to her; Clytaemnestra can now belittle all male characters. Therefore, the Greek society questions the reversal of roles and its effects to the men’s position. Clytaemnestra behavior is typically that of a man, this upsets the Chorus of Elders. By doing everything in a manly manner she believes that she has finally delivered justice to Argos, she manages to end the curse of bloodshed that had been in force for several years. In the chorus “I swept from these halls/the murder,” it is enough evidence for her belief, According to her, the murders of Agamemnon and Cassandra marks the erasure of previous generations’ bloodshed.
Till then, let it be. To otherwise is to have sorrow before you need. For it will come clear with the dawn’s light” (42).
Each crime that is committed causes another more extreme crime as a result, and all of these crimes revolve around the women in the play. Agamemnon is a typical Greek tragedy. Agamemnon was a tragic hero; he was the great King of Argos who went off to fight a war against the Trojans to return his brother Menelaus’s wife Helen before being murdered by the hands of his own wife. Everything that happens in this play is the effect of something a woman did; the entire play actually revolves around the choices of women. One might say a better name for this play may have been Clytemnestra.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. “The Birth of Tragedy.” Dramatic Theory and Criticism2E Ed, Bernard F. Dukore. US: Heinle and Heinle, 1974. 351-358
Schiller, Friedrich. “On the Use of Chorus in Tragedy.” Dramatic Theory and Criticism. Ed, Bernard F. Dukore. US: Heinle and Heinle, 1974. 359-363
Aeschylus. The Oresteia. Trans. David Greene and Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1989