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by Aeschylus

Agamemnon Gender Quotes

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

Quote #7

(Chorus): "Which man is to bring this evil thing about?"
(Cassandra): "You have indeed been thrown a long way off the course my oracles are running!" (1251-1252)

Here we see how the Chorus's gender stereotypes prevent them from understanding Cassandra's prophecy. They simply have no idea that a woman could plan such a horrible murder.

Quote #8

(Chorus): "We marvel at your tongue, at your bold mouth in vaunting such words over your husband." (Clytemnestra): "You test me like a witless woman, but I speak with a fearless heart to those who know; and whether you yourself wish to approve or to blame me, it's all the same! This is Agamemnon, my husband, but a corpse, the work of my right hand here, a just architect. This is how things are." (1399-1406)

In this exchange, the Chorus is still clearly dumbfounded that a woman could have carried out such a fearsome act as Clytemnestra did in killing her husband. But look at Clytemnestra's words in response. Does she argue against these cultural assumptions, or reinforce them? Doesn't it kind of seem like Clytemnestra is saying, "Don't treat me like a woman," as if she were something else? What do you make of this?

Quote #9

(Chorus): "Oh for a fate without excessive pain
and not long-watchful by the bed,
to come and bring to us quickly
the sleep which never ends, now that our most kind guardian
has been brought down in death
after enduring
much through a woman; by woman too his life was lost." (1448-1454)

Once again, the Chorus seems really, really upset that Agamemnon was killed by a woman. In fact, it disturbs them so much that they wish for death. Do you think they would have the same response if Agamemnon had been murdered by a man?

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