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Quotes

Quote #4

ZEUS
You cannot share in their repentance, since you did not share in their crime. Your brazen innocence makes a gulf between you and them. (1.1.81)

Orestes realizes this later, and re-iterates the point when he says he will take a weight upon himself to become heavy as the people of Argos are.

Quote #5

ZEUS
They have guilty consciences, they're afraid – and fear and guilty consciences have a good savor in the nostrils of the gods. Yes, the gods take pleasure in such poor souls. Would you oust them from the favor of the gods? What, moreover, could you give them in exchange? Good digestions, the gray monotony of provincial life, and the boredom – ah, the soul-destroying boredom – of long days of mild content. (1.1.81)

The people of Argos have chosen the murder of Agamemnon as the one event in their past that defines who they are. Without it, they face boredom, as Zeus calls it – an emptiness.

Quote #6

THE TUTOR
I wondered if you weren't hatching some wild scheme to oust Aegisthus and take his place.
ORESTES
[thoughtfully] To oust Aegisthus. Ah – [A pause.] No, my good slave, you need not fear. (1.1.103-4)

These stage directions are extremely important. Orestes hasn't even considered killing Aegisthus before this moment – unlike the classic Greek myth, he certainly didn't come to Argos seeking vengeance.

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