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An investigation into how 'moral obligation' and its associated values are represented and translated in Sophocles' and Euripides' Electra.

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  • Essay length: 1859 words
  • Submitted: 04/01/2006
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AS and A Level Classics

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An investigation into how 'moral obligation' and its associated values are represented and translated in Sophocles' and Euripides' Electra.

Moral obligation is, according to Collins English Dictionary, 'Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong'. This conundrum is one that affects the keys protagonists of the tragic story of the line of Pelops has been told many times and forms the basis of many Greek plays. The plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides also deal with the aftermath of the final murder, that of Clytaemnestra and her lover. It is within this background that I would like to study the idea of moral obligation and how it effects and motivates the characters involved. Clytaemnestra states (Sophocles, Translator Watling, E.F., 'Electra and other plays', 1953, lines 524-526, Penguin Books) that Electra should have obeyed her duty whilst Electra holds her duty to watch she feels is a higher order. Many of the Greek plays share the concept of a duty to many things including their husbands (Alcestis), ancestors (Orestia), the Gods and to principles. I would like to understand the conflicting views of obligation through just one short story, the revenge of Electra and Orestes.

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