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Analysis

Literary Devices in Libation Bearers

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Netting is an important image in Agamemnon, the first play in Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy, where it symbolizes the constricting power of fate. Netting is also used to trap Agamemnon when he is in...

Setting

Like Agamemnon, Part 1 of Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy, Libation Bearers takes place in Argos, a city in the Peloponnese, a large peninsula in the south of mainland Greece. ( Here's a map.) The dif...

Genre

Yes, we know, it's a crazy mixture – but Aeschylus was one wild and crazy guy. In fact, there are probably even more categories that Libation Bearers fits into, but to keep things simple, we'...

Tone

The seriousness of Libation Bearers is pretty obvious and runs straight through the play. The only possible exception to its generally weighty tone comes in the Nurse's speech, when she talks about...

Writing Style

OK, first things first. What makes the writing style of Libation Bearers poetic? On Shmoop, we use the translation by Christopher Collard in the Oxford World Classics series. We like this translati...

What's Up With the Title?

First things first. What's a "libation" anyway? If you've ever seen a movie or TV show where a gangster pours out liquor on the ground in memory of dead friends and family, then you have seen a lib...

What's Up With the Ending?

The most important thing to remember about the end of Libation Bearers is that this play is only Part 2 of a trilogy of tragedies known as the Oresteia. In guide to Agamemnon, the first play in thi...

Tough-o-Meter

If you've already read Aeschylus's Agamemnon, Part 1 of the Oresteia trilogy, you probably remember it being really, really hard. (Don't worry: EVERYONE thinks Agamemnon is challenging.) What made...

Plot Analysis

Orestes is in exile.Even though the play begins a few years after the end of Agamemnon (Part 1 of the Oresteia trilogy), the situation is much the same. Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus, Agamem...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Overcoming the Monster

The oracle of Delphi tells Orestes to get revenge for his father's murder.This actually happens before the beginning of the story we see onstage, but it is crucially important to everything that fo...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Orestes comes home and links up with his sister and the Chorus.With a little help from his friends, Orestes enters the palace in disguise.Orestes kills Aegisthus and Clytemnestra, then goes crazy.

Trivia

When Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy was originally performed, it was followed up by a comedic "satyr play" entitled Proteus. This play was named after a shape-shifting sea-god whom Menelaus had to fi...

Steaminess Rating

There's some hanky-panky hinted at in Orestes and Clytemnestra's final exchange before he kills her. It's only hinted at because, well, it's always awkward to talk about that sort of stuff with you...

Allusions

None
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