Study Guide

Orestes, Electra, and Clytemnestra Setting

Setting

Mycenae, Tauris

Mycenae (or Argos)

All the bloody goings-ons go down in the city of Mycenae, though some writers use Argos interchangeably. Though nobody knows for sure if Orestes or any of his family actually existed, archeologists unanimously agree that Mycenae was majorly important back in ancient Greece. They've even named a whole period of Greek history the "Mycenaean Period " after this seat of power. The ruins of a palace still stand on the sight that was once Mycenae, and many amazing ancient artifacts have been found there. For much more on this ancient place, click here.

Tauris

In Euripides' play, Iphigenia in Tauris, Orestes and Pylades try to absolve Orestes by traveling to the land of Tauris, to steal back a statue of Artemis, which has fallen there. When they arrive they are instantly put on the chopping block for human sacrifice, but are saved by Orestes' long lost sister Iphigenia who (in this version) was whisked to Tauris right before Agamemnon could sacrifice her back in Aulis.

The Greek audience wouldn't have been surprised to hear that the Taurians wanted to sacrifice Oresetes and Pylades, since it was rumored that the "barbaric " Taurians once loved nothing better than to serve up any Greek that landed there to their blood thirsty version of Artemis. The land of Tauris was in a mountainous region near the Black Sea, which is now encompassed by modern day Crimea. There's been a lot more bloodshed there since ancient times. Click here to learn more.

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