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Quotes

Quote #7

(Chorus): "Were not one man's status in life
set by heaven, preventing
another's from greater advance,
my heart would have anticipated
my tongue in pouring this out;
but now it grumbles
in the darkness, with my spirit grieving and not hopeful
ever of winding all to its end
effectively; my mind is ablaze." (1025-1033)

Compare this passage with the first quotation for this theme. Here, the Chorus makes it pretty clear that they're afraid to say anything because their lower social status will expose them to punishment if they anger those in control. In this case, their fear appears to be compounded by the religious belief that their lower social status reflects the will of the gods. Do you think they really believe this, or are they just saying that to put a nice, pious gloss on the fact that they are afraid of their fellow, but more socially prominent, mortals?

Quote #8

(Cassandra): "O-o-o-oh! Horror! No!
O Apollo, O Apollo!
(Chorus): "Why this loud wailing for Loxias? He is not of the kind to meet a lamenter."
(Cassandra): "O-o-o-oh! Horror! No!
O Apollo! O Apollo!"
(Chorus): "This woman blasphemes again in calling on the god; it is not his part to assist at lamentations."
(Cassandra): "Apollo, Apollo!
Lord of the streets, my destroyer!
You have destroyed me without effort for the second time!" (1072-1082)

Who do you think is more afraid in this scene, Cassandra or the Chorus? What do you think of Aeschylus's decision to represent Cassandra's emotion in part through nonverbal sounds?

Quote #9

(Cassandra): "Oh! Oh, this misery! Deep down again the fearsome work of truthful prophecy agitates and whirls me round with its stormy prelude. You see these young ones seated by the house, resembling dream-shapes? They are children killed, as if by people outside their family! Their hands are full of their own flesh for meat, clearly visible, holding their entrails and the vitals with them, most pitiable burden, which their father tasted. For that, I say that someone is planning retribution, a cowardly lion who roams free in the marriage-bed and has stayed at home – alas it is against the master on his return." (1214-1227)

Here, once again, Cassandra reports fearsome visions about both the past and the future. We call them fearsome because they inspire fear in the Chorus, and probably also in the play's original theatrical audience, and in us modern readers. Do you think these visions also inspire fear in Cassandra? Why or why not?

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