The Oresteia Test | Final 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 would happen to Orestes if he did not take revenge upon his mother, according the oracle?

2. What do the Furies turn into at Athena's behest at the very end of The Oresteia?

3. What does Orestes firmly reinforce while protesting his innocence to the council?

4. What does Orestes promise Zeus if he succeeds in his revenge?

5. Why is it important that Athena know about Orestes' familial relations?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Orestes mean when he cries out to Zeus in the second part of "The Libation Bearers"?

2. Why is Clytemnestra's dream significant to Orestes?

3. Why is it important that Orestes tell Athena who his father was when the goddess comes to him?

4. What is the conflict between the Furies and Apollo?

5. After receiving false news in the third part of the second play, what is Clytemnestra's reaction to news of Orestes' supposed death?

6. Why does Orestes decide to go back to the oracle?

7. After he is freed at the end of "The Oresteia", what does Orestes claim to want for the future?

8. What was Clytemnestra's dream?

9. How does Clytemnestra attempt to defend herself against Orestes in the last part of "The Libation Bearers"?

10. According to their words in the second part of the third play, what do the Furies believe about their rights?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The language of "The Oresteia" alternates between being simple dialogue and poetically complicated. Discuss the use of language in the following format:

Part 1) The chorus invoking the gods.

Part 2) The simple exchanges of dialogue.

Part 3) The stylized speeches of Cassandra and the Furies.

Cite specific examples from the text.

Essay Topic 2

A constant, repeated theme in the first play of "The Oresteia" is that the Trojans got what they deserved when their city fell and people killed or enslaved. Explore this theme in the larger context of the entire play cycle. What does it mean when characters in "The Oresteia" are justifiably punished? How do they react to being punished? Cite specific examples from the text to support your arguments.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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