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Clytemnestras Essay

Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements for “Agamemnon” by Aeschylus that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes in Agamemnon and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of “Agamemnon” by Aeschylus in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot of “Agamemnon” by Aeschylus or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from “Agamemnon” at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1 : Women and Warfare in Agamemnon by Aeschylus

The world in which Agamemnon takes place is one where masculinity and warfare are among the most emphasized aspects of society and where women are often pushed out of the forefront of decision-making and power and are thusly relegated to the role of mourners and caretakers. In short, the role of women in Agamemnon is simply that they perform the emotional clean-up following war or act as subjects of war (prisoners or sacrifices) and that is the way they are involved in the major warfare aspect of their society. Although in many ways Clytemnestra (click here for a character analysis of Clytemnestra) subverts this role, other female characters such as Cassandra and Iphigenia represent the way warfare has a direct effect on women. For this essay on Agamemnon, look at the few female characters and examines the ways they are victims of their male and warfare-dominated societies and reflect on what this means for this society or, conversely, use this possible topic for an analysis of Agamemnon by Aeschylus in conjunction with a character analysis of Clytemnestra and consider how she represents an alternate possibility for a female in this society.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2 : The Unorthodox Purpose of the Chorus in Agamemnon by Aeschylus

Throughout the canon of ancient literature and drama, the chorus has served several distinct purposes, including to reinforce the opinion of the reader or viewer, as well as glorify or condemn characters and oftentimes, to confirm opinions one should have about major events in the plot of the work. The chorus in Agamemnon takes the role of opinion confirmation to a new level that is unlike the role of the chorus in other works of ancient drama. Their primary role, especially at the beginning of the play, is to question their leadership. They are a constant element of doubt and suspicion as well as condemnation and in light of the plot of Agamemnon, it is clear that without these characters singing to our suspicions, much of the foreshadowing in Agamemnon might go completely unnoticed. For this essay on Agamemnon, consider the ways in which the chorus incites the viewer or reader to a higher level of suspicion about central characters in Agamemnon and how they create the necessary foreshadowing that lends to a lessened sense of surprise at the conclusion of the play.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3 : Duality and Strength : A Character Analysis of Clytemnestra

Clytemnestra in the first in the series of plays by Aeschylus, which is Agamemnon, is one of the most fascinating female characters in ancient literature as she walks a fine line between male and female, subject and ruler, and lover and fighter. These dualities in the character of Clytemnestra lead to some of the major surprises in the plot of Agamemnon and her decisions change the fate and course of history of an entire nation. By straddling many lines between what a woman should be and how one in power should behave, Clytemnestra acts alone and with great strength of character to influence the outcome of her own life as well as those of her fellow countrymen. For this character analysis of Clytemnestra, examine the way duality is presented in her character and reflect of how these dualities make her an ideal woman in power, especially in this time and place where warfare and masculinity are celebrated.
Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4 : The Importance of Foreshadowing in Agamemnon by Aeschylus

Foreshadowing is the most important literary device used in Agamemnon by Aeschylus and it manifests in several different ways, including bad omens, prophecies, and the cries from a chorus that sees a clear path to certain destruction when it is too late as they are suspicious of Cassandra. Although there are various ways that foreshadowing is used in Agamemnon, oftentimes, it is completely ignored, overlooked or not believed and this ignorance of signs and symbols is part of the tragic downfall that occurs at the end of the play. For this essay on Agamemnon by Aeschylus, extract a few examples of clear foreshadowing from different characters or situations (Cassandra’s prophecies and their reception by the Chorus, for example) and consider how and why the foreshadowing works for the reader or viewer but the lack of attention to this by characters becomes deadly ignorance.

Click here to read an openly-accessible character analysis of Clytemnestra within the context of similar works of ancient drama

This list of important quotations from “Agamemnon” by Aeschylus will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from Agamemnon listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements for “Agamemnon” by Aeschylus above, these quotes alone can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to the text in an important way.

[Chorus] “For while the sap of youth is green, / And, yet unripened, leaps within, / The young as weakly as the old, / And each alike unmeet to hold / The vantage post of war!"

[Clytemnestra] “For all the conquered whom the sword has spared / Cling weeping some unto a brother slain, / Some childlike to a nursing father’s form, / And wail the loved and lost, the while their neck, / Bows down already ‘neath the captive’s chain"

[Antistrophe 2] “The touch of bitter death is manifold! / Familiar was each face, and dear as life, That went unto the war, / But thither, whence a warrior went of old, / Doth naught return– / Only a spear and sword and ashes in an urn!"

[Herald] “For where we couched, close by the foeman’s wall, / The river-plain was ever dank with dews, / Dropped from the sky, exuded from the earth, A curse that clung unto our sodden garb"

[Clytemnestra] “What day beams fairer on a woman’s eyes / Than this, whereon she flings the portal wide, / To hail her lord, heaven-shielded, home from war?"

[Chorus] “Ah! To some end Fate, unseen, unguessed, / Are these wild throbbing of my heart and breast / Yea, of some doom they tell / Each pulse, a knell. / Lief, lief I were, that all, / To unfulfilment’s hidden realm might fall"

{Cassandra chanting] “Home cursed of God! Bear witness unto me / Ye visioned woes within / The blood-stained hands of them that smite their kin-/ The strangling noose, and, spattered over / With human blood, the reeking floor!"

[Chorus in response to Cassandra] “I read amiss dark sayings such as thine, / Yet something warns me that they tell of ill. / O dark prophetic speech, Ill tidings dost thou teach / Ever, to mortals here below! Ever some tale of awe and woe!"

Aristotelian Tragedy: Clytemnestra’s Tragic Role In The Oresteia

Aristotelian Tragedy:

Clytemnestra's Tragic Role in The Oresteia

In Poetics, Aristotle describes a tragic hero as one of noble birth and as more admirable than ordinary men. The hero, however, cannot be morally perfect; for the best plots arise when the hero's downfall is the inevitable consequence of some defect in character. The spectacle of a good man dragged to destruction by a single error evokes feeling of pity and fear in the audience. The reaction to the hero's demise leads to "catharsis," a state through which these emotions are purged, and the audience leaves the theater relieved, rather than depressed. Although Agamemnon and Orestes display qualities of tragic heroes as set out by Aristotle, through her man-like character and her desire for vengeance, Clytemnestra better demonstrates the character traits of a tragic hero.

According to Aristotle, the tragic hero is a character of noble stature who exudes greatness. The character must occupy a high status position but must also embody nobility and virtue as part of his or her character. Clytemnestra, upon Agamemnon's departure for the battle of Troy, takes control of city-state of Mycenae. Although Clytemnestra was not born noble, she marries Agamemnon and, in his absence, thrusts herself upon the duties of kingship. Clytemnestra's sense of duty compels her to accept the new role, demonstrating her virtue and honor. Agamemnon, on the other hand, is arrogant and prideful upon his return to Argos: "…the gods, they sent me, and they have brought me back. Victory, you have been my constant companion, may you stand by my side forever" (Agamemnon 852-854). Equally, Aeschylus depicts Orestes as weak when he begs for mercy from Apollo: "Lord Apollo you know how not to be unjust… you have the power for good, you can save me" (Furies 85,87). Orestes is seen as a feeble man in the face of Apollo and his mother, traits that are not the qualities of a tragic hero.

As a tragic hero, Clytemnestra's character flaws are more relatable to the audience, while Agamemnon's are distant and off-putting. Although the tragic hero is pre-eminently great, he is not perfect; perfection would seem alien to the human audience, making them unable to identify with the hero. They should see the hero as someone essentially similar to most people yet elevated to a higher social position. Clytemnestra's lust for power and typically male ambitions are indicative of the imperfection in her character; these traits, however, are more understandable and relatable to an audience because the desire for power is a simple human aspiration. In spite of the virtuous and honorable picture the chorus presents of Agamemnon,...

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