• 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?

    to teach you a lesson, and this really puts forward that even though Aristotle says nothing about themes in his Ars Poetica the themes in each play are always similar. For example, Dike and justice from Zeus is always in a play because there must be justice in a play, something must come that is right.

  2. Compare and contrast the portrayal of the Gods in Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's metamorphoses.

    For example, Byblis, who wants to commit an incestuous act with her brother, Caunus, cites the gods as a positive example, as they sleep with their relatives, without feelings of guilt or shame: 'Yet gods have loved their sisters; yes indeed!

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

    In Agamemnon, Clytemnestra is convinced of her own righteousness and freely confesses to the crime, "I did it all, I don't deny it, no. He had no way to flee or fight his destiny," and Agamemnon, arrogant and foolish, certainly is not a sympathetic victim.

  2. Compare the [causes and reasons of] suffering the protagonists cause to their family and ...

    Agamemnon causes suffering to his own family and innocent people. He sacrifices his own daughter Iphigeneia to the goddess Artemis, "the only way he {Agamemnon] can get the wind he needs is by sacrificing his own daughter" (Weissman, Alan, pg.

  1. Hippolytus by Euripides

    This is very much a story on how the gods used mortals as tolls in their plans. The characterisation of Hippolytus is very interesting because the audience see two contrasting sides to him. In the beginning of the play, he comes across as an arrogant and foolish young man when he openly shuns the goddess Aphrodite.

  2. Descartess Overall Argument for Mind-Body Distinctness in the Meditations

    Descartes then clarifies the kind of thing represented by his idea of God, a being that is absolutely unlimited, infinite, perfectly benevolent, and his creator. Subsequently, due to this definition of God, Descartes concludes that he could not have invented God, based on the fact that he could not have gotten the idea, because God's degree of reality (i.e.

  1. "By the end of his plays, Euripides leaves the audience without one character to ...

    In 'Medea', the title character and her husband, Jason, both evoke a very unsympathetic reaction from the reader or the observer through their actions, Medea especially. We do however feel sorry for Medea's children. They are helpless and used as pawns in Medea's premeditated murder of Glauce, the princess that Jason has just married.

  2. Sophocles allegedly said that he portrayed his characters as they ought to be, Euripides ...

    By allowing his protagonist to be so essentially flawed, Euripides is displaying his both his rejection of the traditional interpretations of Greek Tragedies, and showing the realism that became such a great feature of his plays. Electra is not a perfect character, and is portrayed as she is, rather than as she ought to be.

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