The Oresteia Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is the function of the herald at the beginning of the second part of the first play?

2. What is Clytemnestra's final reaction to Cassandra?

3. What goddess demanded Iphigenia in sacrifice?

4. How does the chorus feel about Cassandra?

5. What had Clytemnestra told her daughter to say in her prayers before she comes to the tomb in the second play?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do the chorus of women comment upon while bewailing their grief over Agamemnon?

2. To what does the chorus compare Troy and why?

3. How does Cassandra describe Apollo and why?

4. What are the chorus's opinions on Paris and his actions in the second part of "The Agamemnon"?

5. What is Electra supposed to do at her father's tomb?

6. What is Cassandra's curse and why was it placed on her?

7. Why does Clytemnestra lose patience with Cassandra in the fourth part of "The Agamemnon"?

8. Why is Orestes praying to Hermes and Zeus at beginning of "The Libation Bearers"?

9. What evidence does Electra find that convinces her Orestes has returned to Mycenae?

10. For what is the herald giving thanks during his entrance?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Consider the reactions the chorus and Orestes have to Clytemnestra's relationship with Aegisthus. Conversely, look at how the chorus and Clytemnestra treat Agamemnon when he reveals that he has brought Cassandra back with him as a concubine. What do these differing reactions signify about the roles of men and women in this play? Are these a reflection of the time? Bear in mind that in the first play the chorus is comprised of old men. Cite specific examples from the text to support your argument.

Essay Topic 2

Consider the god Apollo. On one hand, he is Orestes' savior, offering his support and guidance of the young man at every turn. On the other hand, Apollo has ruined Cassandra's life, cursing her and allowing Troy to be defeated. Explore the conflicting roles of Apollo and how he has affected the events of "The Oresteia". Cite specific examples from the text.

Essay Topic 3

When the Greek tragedies were first written, the stories and characters were well known to the audiences, which is why "The Oresteia" has a fairly complicated web of plot lines, history, and characters. Luckily, for modern audiences who may not be as familiar with these stories, though, characters, especially the chorus, offer insight and back stories in what is about to take place. Discuss the use of exposition in "The Oresteia". Does it add to or subtract from the content of the play? Is it strictly necessary to be familiar already with these stories? Why? Cite specific examples from the text to support your claims.

(see the answer keys)

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