Electra

Electra: Essay Q&A

  1. What is the historical background of 5th Century Athens?   Greek drama flourished in 5th century Athens when Euripides wrote his plays. By the 460s BCE when the great statesman, Pericles, ruled Athens, it had become the most powerful and prosperous city-state in Greece. It was a center of commerce, the arts, philosophy, …

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Electra: Biography

Euripides (ca. 480 BCE-406 BCE) was one of the three great tragic playwrights of fifth-century Athens, along with Aeschylus and Sophocles. Only about eighteen of the supposedly over ninety plays he wrote survive, more than any other classical dramatist’s.   He was born on Salamis Island, the son of Mnesarchus, a tailer. His mother was …

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Electra: Top Ten Quotes

“on foreign soil he triumphed. But once at home,     he fell to his treacherous wife, Clytemnestra,     killed by her guile—and Aegisthus’ hand. (ll. 8-10).The Mycenean farmer, husband of Electra, speaks these lines about King Agamemnon’s ironic fate. He was a hero in war, only to be assassinated when he came home. …

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Electra: Theme Analysis

Family Curse and Feud   Agamemnon’s family is a branch of the House of Atreus that sprang from Tantalus, the first ancestor to bring down the wrath of the gods. Tantalus began the curse by serving human flesh to the gods. This sin of cannibalism is prevalent in Greek myths, with the serving of human …

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Electra: Metaphor Analysis

Rituals   As a traditional and ancient society Argos has many festivals and rituals that keep the people connected to the gods. The sick state of the land is shown by the perversion in the religious rituals. Rituals of mourning include proper burial, which Aegisthus refuses to Agamemnon’s body. This is a sign of disrespect …

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Electra:Character Profiles

Castor and Polydeuces    Castor and Polydeuces (the Dioscuri) are the twin sons of Zeus and Leda and the brothers of Clytemnestra and Helen (of Troy). They are immortal (the constellation Gemini) and descend from heaven at Clytemnestra’s death to pronounce the fate of Electra and Orestes. Castor expresses sympathy for humans and says that …

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Electra:Novel Summary

Euripides, “Electra.” Trans. Elizabeth Seydel Morgan.  Euripides, 2. Ed. David R. Slavitt and Palmer Bovie. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 1998. 236-296.    There are no act and scene divisions in the play, but this summary is divided into two parts for convenience. The first half of the play concerns the backstory of the House …

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