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. For what does Clytemnestra triumphantly reproach the chorus in the fifth part of "The Agamemnon"?

2. For what does Aegisthus thank the gods in the fifth part of the first play?

3. How does Clytemnestra defend her actions against Agamemnon to the chorus?

4. Why does Cassandra walk into the palace?

5. What does the herald ask of the gods?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are Agamemnon's feelings about Troy?

2. How does the chorus compare life to a ship at sea during "The Agamemnon"?

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

4. What does Orestes find mysterious about the women approaching Agamemnon's tomb?

5. What is the dispute Agamemnon and Clytemnestra have about his homecoming?

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

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

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

9. What are the herald's thoughts on the effects of the war?

10. What is the Watchman's duty at the beginning of "The Agamemnon"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In "The Oresteia", the women are the ones who are depicted as seeking revenge. With this in mind, what is the play attempting to say about women? Create a strong thesis. Points to consider include:

1) Clytemnestra's revenge for her daughter's death.

2) Cassandra's visions and her prayers that her death will be avenged.

3) The Furies as bloodthirsty, vengeful goddesses.

4) Orestes' quest of revenge.

5) The roles of Athena and Apollo in Orestes' plight.

Essay Topic 2

What is Cassandra's role in the first play? What is her history with the house of Atreus? Is she the only inherently tragic figure in "The Oresteia"? Cite specific examples from the text to support your arguments.

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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