We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Aeschylus

Agamemnon Lies and Deceit Quotes

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

Quote #7

(Clytemnestra): "After saying much before that suited the moment, I shall not feel shame to say the opposite. How else would someone preparing hostilities against enemies who had seemed to be friends, make a net-fence of harm too high for them to leap? This challenge had all my thought from long ago; victory has come in fulfillment – late, but come it has." (1372-1377)

Here, Clytemnestra straight-up admits that she deceived Agamemnon, and that her murder was premeditated. She also says that this deception was justified, for two reasons. The first reason is practical: she suggests that deception was the only way she could have carried out her revenge. The second reason is more of an ethical reason: she says that Agamemnon deceived her, by being an enemy who had seemed to be a friend. Do you accept her argument that Agamemnon deceived her? Or is this just an excuse she is offering to the Chorus. If so, is it another deception?

Quote #8

(Chorus): "Oh! O my king, my king, how am I to weep for you?
What am I to say from a heart of friendship?
You lie in this spider's web
breathing out your life in a death which is impious;
oh, oh me!, your lying here is ignoble,
laid low in a treacherous death
by a hand with double-bladed weapon." (1489-1496)

Remember how Cassandra compared Clytemnestra to an amphisbaena, and we thought that its double head might refer to her double, or two-faced nature? What do you think about the fact that she killed Agamemnon with a "double-bladed weapon." Could this continue the same symbolism? What about the Chorus's image of the spider web? That seems like a pretty clear indication that they are angry at Clytemnestra for the deceitful way in which she killed Agamemnon.

Quote #9

(Aegisthus): "By returning as suppliant to the hearth the wretched Thyestes found for himself security against being killed and bringing blood upon his ancestral soil himself; but for his hospitality this man's godless father Atreus, eager rather than amiable towards my father, while cheerfully seeming to celebrate a day for butchered meat, provided him with a feast from his children's flesh." (1585-1593)

Here, Aegisthus argues that Agamemnon's father, Atreus, used deception when he tricked his own brother, Thyestes, into eating his own children's flesh. (This makes sense; it doesn't seem likely anybody would do that willingly.) Do you think the deception of Atreus justifies Aegisthus's deception and murder of Agamemnon?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...