Examine and compare the motives and actions of Orestes and Electra. To what extent will an Athenian audience admire and approve of them?
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Examine and compare the motives and actions of Orestes and Electra. To what extent will an Athenian audience admire and approve of them? Electra is the central character in the play. Her main purpose in this play is to achieve the motive of a typical Greek person, which is to be noble to the gods, family and cherish their homeland. This is why tries as much as possible to kill the murderers of her father and why she thinks by doing this, she is obeying the gods. These murderers happen to be her mother and her lover; Aegisthus.This makes her hate her mother without considering the circumstances to which she was subjected to before killing Agamemnon. Electra describes her as 'the queen of falsehood". Pg 77. And a "worthless slot". Pg 77. She expresses the hatred for her mother freely. She also hates Aegisthus as he has taken the place of her father. "Aegisthus sitting in my father's chair, wearing the clothes he wore, pouring the same libations at the altar where he killed him'.
She lacks patience and is unable to consider the consequences of her actions before she does them "Prepare fit punishments and turn their pomp to ashes!" This portrays her aggressiveness' Pg 75. On the other hand we have Orestes who is one of the main male characters. He is the son of Agamemnon and his main aim is also to revenge the death of his father who has been killed by his mother and her lover, Aegithus as explained earlier, as he feels it his responsibility to the gods, which he is trying by all means not to disobey. "I would not have come back but in the gods' good time; they brought me back to you". Pg 108.It is important I note that Orestes expresses a bit of doubt after killing Clytaemnestra. "All right...if Apollo was right". Pg 114. Also, unlike Electra, Orestes is a more calm and reserved. He does not pour out all his emotions and is more cautious in his actions. He is coordinated and plans his actions before carrying them out.
Pg 85 In conclusion, I personally think that the Greek audience would have sympathised with both Electra and her brother, Orestes as they both present the actions of a Greek person if he or she was in a similar situation, though it might be in different styles. In Electra, I think the audience would have loved the way she cherished the main priorities of a typical Greek person which, is to be loyal to your family and homeland. They would also have admired this in Orestes as he also does the same. The Greek audience would have also loved how she portrayed the regular tradition and culture through her mourning. In Orestes, I think the Greeks would have admired his ability to think of good ideas and his ability to make good use of his sense, as it was regarded as a very important characteristic in the society. They would also have loved the use of irony used by the two characters. The main shortcoming of this play is that the intrigue and suspense is limited, as it would have been more if the audience did not know the story..
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