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by Aeschylus

Agamemnon Politics Quotes

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

Quote #7

(Aegisthus): "From this man's wealth I shall try to rule the citizens; any man who does not obey me I shall put under a heavy yoke – he will be no trace-horse fed with barley! That hard friend hunger which houses with darkness will see him softened." (1638-1641)

Yup, Aegisthus definitely has a tyrannical streak in him. He makes no bones about his intention to inflict pain on anyone who disobeys him.

Quote #8

(Aegisthus): "Well, since you think to act and speak like this, you shall soon learn!
(Chorus): "Come on then, our band of friends! The action here is not far off!"
(Aesgisthus): "Come on then: every man have his sword ready, hilt to hand!"
(Chorus): "Look, my hilt is to hand as well, and I do not refuse to die!"
(Aegisthus): "You die? We accept the omen of your words, we choose this outcome!" (1649-1653)

These lines show that the Chorus is not totally passive; when push comes to shove, they are willing to stand up to tyrants. Of course, they do not actually end up fighting Aegisthus, because Clytemnestra is able to defuse the situation. What does this contradictory image of the Chorus – ready to fight, but easily appeased – suggest about Aeschylus's views on democracy?

Quote #9

(Aegisthus): "But that these men should glory over me with empty talk like this, and throw out such words to test their fate, and in default of sensible moderation [insult] their master!" (1662-1664)

Aww, poor baby: Aegisthus doesn't like it when the people insult him. If he's thinking about embarking on a political career, he's definitely going to have to learn to deal with "empty talk." That said, tyrants do have notoriously thin skin…

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