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. According to Agamemnon, what was the cause of Troy's being "ground into dust?"

2. What city does Clytemnestra describe as being ruined, burned, and full of mourning for the dead?

3. In the first part of the first play, what does the chorus say of Agamemnon's fate?

4. According to the herald and the chorus, what has happened to Agamemnon's brother?

5. What, according to the herald, is worth the suffering of the soldiers?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What are the disputes amongst the chorus when they hear Agamemnon screaming from inside the palace?

4. According to the chorus, how must Electra pray?

5. What happened to Menelaus, according to the herald?

6. What feelings does the Watchman have while on the roof in the beginning of the play?

7. What is Clytemnestra's vision for the future after the death of Agamemnon?

8. What visions does Cassandra see when she looks at the palace?

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

10. What is the continuing theme among the chorus as to what happened to Troy and why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What are the roles of justice and revenge in "The Oresteia"? What are the differences between the two? What characters seek justice and what characters seek revenge? How does this reflect upon the play cycle as a whole? Cite specific examples from the text to support your arguments.

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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