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Lecture 32 Notes.docx

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McGill University
CLAS 203
Margaret Palczynski

CLAS203 Lecture 32 Notes The Oresteia Trilogy (written by Aeschylus): Nostos (return home)  The Agamemnon o At Argos: Clytemnestra (taken over control of the household while Agamemnon was gone, was not faithful to Agamemnon) and Aegisthus (son of Thyestes, was Clytemnestra’s lover) o The triumphant return – beacon light from sails, Agamemnon kisses ground to rejoice being home. Goes in his chariot back home with Cassandra o Hybris: The ‘walking on the carpet’ – never boasts that it was Agamemnon’s own doing, but rather the gods help. Clytemnestra tells him to step on silk tapestry as a sign of superiority even though he didn’t want to, but Clytemnestra taunts him by saying “what would Priam do?” Agamemnon thus commits hybris. Cassandra tells the elder groves that both herself and Agamemnon will die by Clytemnestra’s hands o Murder of Cassandra and Agamemnon – Clytemnestra brings body out and rejoices that she has had revenge for Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigenia o Aegisthus wants to proclaim kingship, but everybody says he did nothing to the planning or the executing o What is Dike? (Dike is greek notion of justice, proper/custom order of things that must be done) o Clytemnestra is fulfilling Dike which is to have blood for blood or murder for murder; retribution  The Libation Bearers o Orestes (son of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon) in exile, Phocis (area around Delphi), Pylades (returns with Orestes, son of King of Phocis) o Orestes sought the Oracles of Delphi and finds out that ‘you must kill his mother because she killed your father’ o The chorus in this tragedy are the libation bearers; slaves of the palace o Libation bearers were sent to the tomb of Agamemnon to appease it with libations due to Clytemnestra’s dream: gave birth to snake, coddle the snake in clothes and offered her breast milk where the snake bit her breast, killing her o Electra (daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemenstra) at the shrine to appease Agamemnon with Libation bearers. Sees lock of hair, knows it’s her brother. Orestes presents himself, Electra asks for more signs of evidence; sees the garment she wove for
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