Classical Studies 2301A/B Chapter Notes -Klis, Aegisthus, Clytemnestra
Course CodeCS 2301A/B
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OUTLINE OF AESCHYLUS’ ORESTEIA
1-263 Watchman sees Agamemnon's fleet approaching. The Chorus enters and provides background information on the
264-319 Clytemnestra explains to the Chorus that the Greeks have sacked Troy.
320-502 The Chorus summarizes the causes of the Trojan War, especially in relation to "Guest-Friendship."
503-585 A herald proclaims Agamemnon's victory over Troy.
586-612 Clytemnestra discusses plans for Agamemnon's glorious return.
613-680 The herald and the Chorus talk about a storm that sank many Greek ships.
681-781 Long choral monologue on Helen and the downfall of Troy.
782-854 Agamemnon enters. The Chorus hints that Agamemnon has domestic issues to address.
855-913 Clytemnestra explains that Orestes is elsewhere. She then invites Agamemnon to walk on a purple cloth.
914-974 Agamemnon debates whether he should walk on the carpet. Eventually, "on his own will," he does.
975-1068 Clytemnestra addresses Cassandra and tells her (in no uncertain terms) to enter the palace.
Cassandra tells the Chorus of the events to follow. The Chorus (of course) refuses to believe her.
Cassandra explains why no one believes her prophecies.
Cassandra details the events leading to Agamemnon's death, and then her own.
Offstage, Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon and Cassandra; the frantic and terrified Chorus listens helplessly.
Clytemnestra explains why she murdered Agamemnon: He sacrificed Iphegenia, their daughter, for favorable sailing
Using various other, analogous myths as "precedents," the Chous and Clytemnestra debate whether her actions are
1576-1611 Aegisthus explains the curse on Atreus' house.
Aegisthus and Clytemnestra reveal their plans to the chorus.
THE LIBATION BEARERS
1-105 Orestes, Electra, and Chorus individually lament Agamemnon's murder.
106-211 Exchange between Electra and Chorus. Electra learns that Orestes has returned.
212-264 Orestes reveals himself; Electra eventually recognizes him.
265-371 Orestes, Electra and Chorus lament the unheroic nature of Agamemnon's death.
372-460 Orestes and Electra decide the proper recourse is to kill Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
461-509 Orestes and Electra pray to Agamemnon's shade and various gods for permission to carry out the murders.
510-584 Orestes develops his plan of attack. Clytemnestra's dream shows his plan will succeed.
585-651 The Chorus discusses some analogous myths.
652-718 Dressed as foreigners, Orestes and Pylades (Orestes’ companion) talk with Clytemnestra. Orestes, claiming to be a
messenger, says he is dead.
719-782 Clissa (Orestes’ nurse) and the Chorus talk. Clytemnestra and her clan have fallen for Orestes' plan.
783-837 The Chorus pleads with Zeus.
838-884 Aegisthus briefly talks with the Chorus. As soon as he moves off-stage, Orestes and Pylades kill him.
885-930 Orestes and Clytemnestra: Clytemnestra argues Orestes has no ground on which to kill her; Orestes and Pylades see
it differently and drag her inside.
931-971 Choral monologue. Meanwhile, Orestes kills Clytemnestra off-stage.
972-1043 Orestes reiterates his justification for killing Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
The Eumenides attack Orestes.
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