(Clytemnestra): "You say confidently, this deed is mine;
but you are not to reckon in that I am Agamemnon's mate:
taking the semblance of this dead man's wife,
the ancient bitter demon of revenge
upon Atreus the cruel banqueter
has made this man the price, a full-grown sacrifice made over the young ones." (1497-1504)
Here, Clytemnestra argues that she wasn't the one who killed Agamemnon, but rather a spirit of vengeance which was out to get him in return for the crime of his father, Atreus. But can Clytemnestra really be telling the truth here? First of all, she makes it quite clear elsewhere that she was really mad at Agamemnon for sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia. (No surprises here.) Also, she knows (though the Chorus doesn't yet) that she was in cahoots with her lover, Aegisthus, the surviving son of Thyestes. When she refers to that "ancient bitter demon of revenge," couldn't that just be a sneaky way of referring to Aegisthus's revenge against Agamemnon? If so, it starts to look like her talk about divine spirits of revenge isn't just covering her own heinie, but Aegisthus's as well.