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.
Agamemnon

Agamemnon

  

by Aeschylus

Agamemnon Memory and The Past Quotes

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

Quote #10

(Aegisthus): "Atreus his father, the ruler of this land, when his power was disputed, banished my father Thyestes, his own brother – this is a true account – from city and home. 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 this hospitality this man's godless father Atreus, eager rather than amicable towards my father, while cheerfully seeming to celebrate a day for butchered meat, provided him with a feast from his children's flesh. He broke up small the feet and the combs of fingers; and Thyestes, seated separately at a distance, at once takes the unrecognizable parts and eats them in ignorance, an ugly meal which ended the safety, as you see, for Atreus' line." (1583-1597)

Speak of the devil and the devil appears: compare this speech by Atreus with the previous quotation, the vision of Cassandra. Aegisthus indicates that the desire for revenge can involve an inability to forget the past. A person who wants revenge paradoxically both lives in the past and seeks to make the past present, by turning a deed back on its original doer. The irony in Aegisthus's case, of course, is that the person he really should get revenge on – Atreus – is dead. Strictly speaking, Agamemnon didn't have anything to do with the murder of Aegisthus's siblings.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement