Agamemnon Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used Christopher Collard's translation.
(Chorus): "With the fire's good news
rumour has gone swiftly through the city;
whether it is true, who knows? –
or whether it is really a falsehood from god?
Who is so childish or struck so senseless
as to have his heart fired
by this new message passed on by flame,
and then to suffer from a change of story? (475-482)
Here, the Chorus talks about several different kinds of deceit. First, they call attention to the fact that the gods could be deceiving them. But then, they point out another form of deception: self-deception. The Chorus considers it childish to deceive oneself into thinking everything will turn out well before knowing all the facts.
(Chorus): "[Clytemnestra] spoke that way to you, words which if you understand them with the help of clear interpreters, appear specious." (615-617)
The Chorus warns the Herald not to take Clytemnestra's words at face value. Why do you think the Chorus is able to see through Clytemnestra's deceit? How might their ability to do so connect with other themes in the play?
(Chorus): "Just so, a man once reared
a lion's offspring in his house
without mother's milk though still a suckling,
in these the first-rites of its life
tame, affectionate towards children,
delightful as well to the old;
it was often held in the crook of arms
like a new infant being nursed,
its face brightly turned to the hand
and fawning in hunger's need." (717-726)
Clearly, there is some deception going on here – but who is doing the deceiving? Is the lion cub deceiving the man, by pretending to be all cuddly and then turning into a carnivorous beast? This seems hard to believe – the lion is just obeying its nature, after all. Isn't it more like that this is another example of self-deception, when the man thinks that the cuddly lion cub will stay that way forever?