Study Guide

Electra Scene Two

By Sophocles

Scene Two

  • Now the Chorus leader speaks up; she's concerned about Electra.
  • Electra explains that, as a woman of noble birth, she's obligated to act this way.
  • Then she takes some time to complain about her mother, who not only murdered her husband, but seems to rejoice in her crime. To add insult to injury, Queen Clytemnestra even holds a festival every year on the day on his death.
  • The Queen is unabashed – until she hears a rumor that Orestes will soon return. Then she goes nuts and screams at Electra (who smuggled him out of town in the first place).
  • The Chorus leader wants to know if Aegisthus is around to hear them.
  • Electra explains that he's out in the country, but wants to know why the Chorus leader asked in the first place.
  • The Chorus leader assures Electra that, if Orestes said he would come, he will. He is too noble to her down.
  • Then Chrysothemis, Electra's sister, arrives on the scene.
  • She's carrying libations to grace Agamemnon's grave. Chrysothemis berates Electra for still grieving when it's so pointless. She's just as distressed over their father's death, but she's pragmatic enough to realize that there's nothing to be gained from grief. Electra may be right, but for her own good, she (Chrysothemis) is playing nice with the King and queen.
  • Electra argues that a clear conscience is more important than easy living.
  • The girls bicker back and forth while the Chorus leader asks them to listen to each other and calm down.
  • Chrysothemis reveals that Electra better shape up her act, otherwise she'll find herself buried alive in a cave. (Apparently, that's what Aegisthus has in store for her, on account of her insolence).
  • Electra is brazen and confident: she's ready for anything. With the way her life is going, she'd rather die anyway.
  • Chrysothemis realizes she's getting nowhere fast. She tells Electra that their mother had a bad dream and, out of guilt, has sent her daughter with libations for Agamemnon's grave. It seems she dreamt that Agamemnon was standing beside her, took his staff, and planted it in the ground. From it sprung a huge tree that overshadowed all of Mycenae. This scared the Queen, because she takes her dream to be a bad omen.
  • Electra tells her sister not to put any of Clytemnestra's offerings on the grave, as it would offend Agamemnon. Instead, Chrysothemis should place a few locks of her own hair on the grave, and pray that Orestes will return soon.
  • Chrysothemis agrees. (From her actions, it seems she's fine with rebellion as long as the King and queen don't find out about it.)
  • Chrysothemis exits and the Chorus launches into a song. They pray to Justice, who they believe sent the portentous dream to Clytemnestra. This wrong will soon be avenged, they sing.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...