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by Sophocles

 Table of Contents

Electra Themes

Electra Themes


Electra examines a "blood for blood" revenge code and asks whether this is a satisfying approach to justice. The problem, tautologically evident, is that "blood for blood" is a never-ending chain....

Justice and Judgment

Where does the concept of "justice" originate? In duty as a citizen? In morality? In law? In the realm of the gods? What about in the duty of personal or familial allegiances? Electra addresses the...

Morality and Ethics

Whether or not Sophocles was concerned with morality when writing Electra is subject to great debate. One perspective is that the play is not interested in condemning or condoning Electra's actions...


Electra examines what happens when different kinds of duty come into conflict. There is duty to family members, to the gods, to the state (as demanded by law), to the dead, and to the self. Which d...


Electra tests the bounds of conflicting family loyalty. The title character owes a duty to her dead father to avenge his murder. But, she owes her mother respect. Unfortunately, this question of lo...

Fate and Free Will

In this play, young Orestes is commanded by Apollo to murder his mother. Does this exonerate him of responsibility for his crime? Could he disobey the God if he wanted? His family seems to be under...


Familial betrayal is the name of the game in Electra. A father sacrifices his daughter to the gods, a wife kills her husband, a daughter conspires to kill her mother, and a son commits matricide. T...


Electra demonstrates that staunch idealism is often times a lonely existence. The title character finds herself alone at the extreme end of her duty-driven idealism. On the one hand, such solitude...

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