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Quotes

Quote #4

ORESTES
Palaces – that's so. Palaces, statues, pillars – stones, stones, stones! Why, with all these stones in my head, am I not heavier? (1.1.95)

Orestes is already drawing a distinction between elements of the natural world – like stones – and people, consciousness, being-for-itself. He needs to choose a fundamental project and define himself. The academic knowledge he's received from the Tutor – knowledge of things in the natural world – isn't going to help him feel any "heavier," or define his identity.

Quote #5

CLYTEMNESTRA
You are a princess, Electra, and the townspeople expect to see you, as in former years.
ELECTRA
A princess – yes, the princess of a day. Once a year, when this day comes round, you remember who I am; because, of course, the people want an edifying glimpse of our family life. A strange princess, indeed, who herds pigs and washes up. Tell me, will Aegisthus put his arm around my neck as he did last time? Will he smile tenderly upon me, while he mumbles horrible threats in my ear? (1.1.134-5)

Consider this passage in the light of Aegisthus and Zeus's later conversation, when they discuss the rift between their selves and the images they have created and forced upon the public.

Quote #6

CLYTEMNESTRA
Fifteen years ago men said I was the loveliest woman in Greece. Look at me now and judge my sufferings. (1.1.204)

The people of Argos don't just wear their crimes on their sleeves – they wear them on their faces. Appearances are a manifestation of the internal.

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