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by Aeschylus

Agamemnon Family Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used Christopher Collard's translation.

Quote #7

(Chorus): "Ancient insolence is wont to breed
youthful insolence in evil men
sooner or later, when the appointed day comes
for birth, rancour rising afresh,
and a demon, unfightable,
invincible, unholy in boldness,
a demon of black Ruin
for a house, resembling its parents." (763-771)

This passage raises the same questions as the one before it. Sure, bad behavior may be passed along within families, but how? And why?

Quote #8

(Clytemnestra): "Those are the reasons why our son Orestes is not standing here with us as he should, the security of our pledges to each other; and do not wonder at this. He is being brought up by your war-ally Strophius the Phocian; he warned me of disaster on two counts, both the dangers under Ilion to yourself and the popular clamour amid anarchy which might overthrow deliberation, and how it is natural to kick a man more who is down. Such a plea in excuse, I assure you, carries no deception." (877-886)

Anytime somebody assures you that what they're saying "carries no deception," you've got to immediately suspect some deception. What do you think might be the real reasons why Clytemnestra has sent her and Agamemnon's son Orestes out of town? Could she be ashamed to have her son see her having an affair with Aegisthus? Could she be worried that he might get caught in the crossfire when she tries to kill Agamemnon? Can you think of any other reasons? If either or both of the two we have suggested is correct, what does this say about Clytemnestra's feelings for her son?

Quote #9

(Clytemnestra): "Now your sentence is my exile from the city, and to have the townsmen's hatred and the people's spoken curse, although earlier you made no opposition to Agamemnon here. He took no special account, just as if it were the death of an animal from his teeming woolly flocks of sheep, when he sacrificed his own daughter, the darling of my womb, as a spell against Thracian winds. Is he not the one you should have driven from the land in penalty for pollution?" (1412-1418)

Here, Clytemnestra defends her actions in killing Agamemnon by invoking her own rights as a mother. Do you find Clytemnestra's argument persuasive?

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