• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the portrayal of Clytaemnestra in both Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Euripides’ Electra. Which portrayal do you think is more effective and why?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Louise Phillips U6 EYS Compare the portrayal of Clytaemnestra in both Aeschylus? Agamemnon and Euripides? Electra. Which portrayal do you think is more effective and why? The character of Clytaemnestra is portrayed very differently in both Aeschylus? Agamemnon and Euripides? Electra. In Agamemnon, we see a very strong female ruler, who is completely absorbed by her passion for vengeance, whereas the figure in Electra is far more maternal, and shows a concern for her family and reputation, which was not apparent in Aeschylus? play. This subdued version of Clytaemnestra shows a stark contrast to the fierce and dominant character in Agamemnon, however both characters remain fascinating for different reasons. The Clytaemnestra of Agamemnon seems to be fearless of retribution, with an infallible belief in her own righteousness; ?I have no fear that his avenger?s tread shall shake this house?. In Electra, however, we see a very different character, humbled over the years, and afraid of Orestes, ?I?m terrified?they say he is full of anger for his father?s death?. These different reactions to the same topic emphasise how greatly the character of Clytaemnestra differs in each play, from the meek and subdued housewife of Electra, to the self-assured and confident murderess of Agamemnon. ...read more.

Middle

Euripides on the other hand, tended to be deliberately ambiguous, and his treatment of Clytaemnestra is typical of this. The two sides of the woman that are exposed in this play; the ruthless killer of Agamemnon, as seen through the eyes of Electra, and the reformed wife of Aegisthus, as is later portrayed. This use of sophistic techniques in order to confound the audience?s expectations is common in the plays of Euripides, and is particularly effective in this portrayal of such a fascinating woman. The fact that Clytaemnestra is the central character in Agamemnon yet only plays a small part in Euripides? Electra also accounts for several differences in her character. The Clytaemnestra in Agamemnon appears almost constantly throughout the play, and through this we can see the development of her character from the strong wife looking after her husband?s estate whilst he is at war: ?Our king and leader absent?our duty pays his due observance to his wife?, to the violent mistress who murders her husband without remorse at the end of the play: ?caught by the ruthless falsehood of a wife?. Aeschylus is able to develop his character over a far greater stretch of time than Euripides as, in Electra, Clytaemnestra only appears in one scene. ...read more.

Conclusion

One similarity between the Clytaemnestra of Agamemnon and the one of Electra is their justification of the murder of Agamemnon. In both plays, Clytaemnestra cites the sacrifice of Iphigeneia as the motive for killing her husband. In Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra laments that ?My own darling, whom my pain brought forth ? he killed her?. A similar argument is used in Electra to justify her murder, telling Electra that ?he killed my daughter ? why should he not die??. This is one of the few similarities between the characters, who have otherwise been almost completely altered. The character of Clytaemnestra is almost completely different in the two tragedies, with many different characteristics and motives. Both Euripides and Aeschylus have created an intriguing character in Clytaemnestra. Aeschylus, however, has, in his portrayal of Clytaemnestra, given us a strong femal character, who, in spite of the atrocities she commits, is still capable of evoking the sympathy of an audience, as we see her struggle for acceptance in a male world. It is this strength of character, rather than Euripides? intriguing, yet somewhat weaker Clytaemnestra that is more effective, and it is because of this that she remains the central focus of Agamemnon, and a constantly fascinating individual. Compare the portrayal of Clytaemnestra in both Aeschylus? Agamemnon and Euripides? Electra. Which portrayal do you think is more effective and why? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. How far does the Agamemnon reflect the Perfect Tragedy?

    In respect to character, there are three main ones, Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and Cassandra. In brief, any of these characters could be tragic heroes, but they do not fit all of the things needed to be a tragic hero, Orestes is the tragic hero in the trilogy.

  2. How far do you feel that Aeschylus intended us to feel that Agamemnon deserved ...

    He displays hubris a great deal in his speeches, particularly in his opening speech. He is also blasphemous to the gods of Troy, who, although not his own gods, should not have been treated with such flippant disrespect. He says: " The storms of ruin live!

  1. Was Julius Caesar an effective leader?

    He exhibited many attributes of an effective military leader. His victories made him a hero of the people, and increased his political power in Rome making it difficult for the Senate to stand against him. Through his military achievements he succeeded in his aims to prove himself and to make a political point to the Senate.

  2. Cinderella - play script

    it's arms to me I'm a young Egyptian princess or a milk-maid I'm the greatest prima-donna in Milan I'm a heiress who has always had her silk made by her own flock of silk-worms in Japan I'm a girl men go mad for, love's a game I can play with

  1. Compare and Contrast the characters of Hektor and Paris and draw close character analysis ...

    Paris' behaviour places Hektor in a dilemma: It is socially necessary for Hektor to protect Paris, but it is also morally and socially correct for him to rebuke him. Therefore, the heroic code binds Hektor into an uncomfortable position, which he struggles to deal with.

  2. Compare and Contrast the Portrayal of Clytemnestra in Agamemnon and Electra

    Aeschylus seems to be keeping Clytemnestra firmly in the audience's sympathies, as Clytemnestra constantly refers back to the source of her hatred for Agamemnon, "he sacrificed his own child, our daughter." It is suggested in Agamemnon that Clytemnestra may not have been so fixated on killing her husband if he had returned soon after Iphigenia's death.

  1. Euripides was accused by his contempories of being a woman hater. Why do you ...

    At this point she comes across as a very wicked conniving young lady. It seems as though she had been waiting for Orestes return to make him do this. When Orestes has doubts over killing Clytemnestra, she bullies him into doing it.

  2. Euripides was accused by his contempories of being a woman hater. Why do you ...

    Euripides writes her to be an attention seeking noble woman, who has married the peasant to make a statement. Not the most likeable of characters. In the Hippolytus, there are two choruses. One made up of huntsmen who follow Hippolytus and the other of women from Trozen.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work