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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?

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