Notes on Agamemnon Themes

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Agamemnon Topic Tracking: Gender

Gender 1: Agamemnon shows more respect to his fellow men, rather than the women in his life. When given a choice between giving wind for all of the Greek men to sail off to fight at Troy and saving the life of his daughter, Iphigenia, Agamemnon shows greater loyalty to the men in his life. He does not even bother to ask his wife, Clytaemnestra, about the sacrifice until after it is already done.

Gender 2: The Chorus of Argive Elders despises Helen, calling her a "promiscuous woman" because she has caused the Trojan War by allowing Paris to take her away as his lover, even though she is already married to Menelaus. Rather than blaming the man who kidnapped her, the Chorus merely blames Helen for causing the Trojan War.

Gender 3: Agamemnon does not want to be thought of as being a woman, so he is afraid of what will happen if he does not sacrifice Iphigenia. He does not want to let all of the soldiers down and deprive them of being able to wage war against Troy. War is a part of being a man.

Gender 4: Clytaemnestra announces that Agamemnon is returning to Argos, but the Chorus of Elders doesn't believe her because they think that women are quick to action without thinking about things first. These old men don't see any basis to what she is saying, insisting that they first must see some proof that Agamemnon is returning home before they can believe it. They distrust her simply because she is a woman.

Gender 5: The old men mocked Clytaemnestra because she is a woman, distrusting her premonition that Agamemnon is returning to Argos. Now, when they know that this is indeed the truth, Clytaemnestra mocks these men, insisting that even though she is a woman, it does not mean that she is a stupid or irrational person.

Gender 6: After hearing about the unknown whereabouts of the great Menelaus, the Chorus of elders calls Helen a typical woman, a troublemaker, because she has caused the Trojan War. Rather than blaming Paris for kidnapping her in the first place, the Chorus overlooks him because he is a man, using this woman as a scapegoat for what has happened to Menelaus.

Gender 7: King Agamemnon blames Helen for causing the Trojan War, calling her a "woman who strayed." This point of view is very similar to that of the old men in the Chorus, blaming Helen for so many deaths, rather than accepting responsibility, for it was Agamemnon who assembled these forces and led them into battle in the first place. If he had not brought these warriors to Troy, none of them would have ever died in the first place.

Gender 8: Agamemnon does not want to appear to be unmanly by obeying the wishes of a woman, distrusting of her because she is using a "woman's ways" to convince him. He implies that woman are manipulative people, but Clytaemnestra prevails over this man when he agrees to walk on the red carpet. She still has a lot of power over these men, including her husband.

Gender 9: Because Agamemnon chose to follow the authority of his wife, rather than respecting the highest authority of the gods above. The Chorus suggests that he will be punished for this crime against the gods since he has offended them by walking on the red carpet. This man will suffer now because of his wife, since the gods have abandoned him.

Gender 10: Clyatemnestra behaves like a man when she pressures Cassandra to go inside of the palace. She becomes very aggressive and dominating, just like she herself was treated earlier by Agamemnon and the Chorus. Now Clytaemnestra behaves like a man and belittles Cassandra, although the Trojan does not obey as Agamemnon had done when pressured to walk on the carpet. This suggests that women have stronger personalities than men do.

Gender 11: Cassandra believes that women should be good wives and respect their husbands. Although Clytaemnestra is angry that Iphigenia is dead, Cassandra does not think that she has the right to murder her husband. Her disgust runs so deeply that she compares Clytaemnestra to a hideous monster. Even now, when the Chorus of old men ignores her warnings about what will happen, this woman remains calm and passively accepts that she will die soon.

Gender 12: The Chorus does not believe that Clytaemnestra actually committed an act of murder because she is a woman. To prove this, she shows them her bloody hands and explains exactly how she carried out this act of violence. They respond by saying that she will be crushed with "man's bitterness," as if the crime of murder was made even worse because it was committed by a woman.

Gender 13: Clytaemnestra behaves very much like a man even though she is a woman, upsetting the Chorus of Elders. She does everything that a woman is not supposed to do: she is a murderer, she talks back to them, and she wants to be the ruler of Argos. These are things that men usually do. The Chorus of men adds that women such as Helen and Clytaemnestra are evil creatures that bring destruction and ruin to men.

Gender 14: When the Chorus discovers that Aegisthus helped Clytaemnestra to plan the murder plot, it blames Aegisthus for Agamemnon's death, ignoring Clytaemnestra. The old men call Aegisthus a woman, because he didn't have the courage to kill the King himself; this comment greatly hurts his pride, and he becomes very angry. Meanwhile, Clytaemnestra, the woman who actually committed this crime stands by, forgotten and unnoticed as the men argue.

Gender 15: By the end of the story, the women and men reverse roles from what they were in the beginning. Now the only woman, Clytaemnestra, is in charge and bosses around all of the men around her such as Aegisthus and the Chorus, who are all acting like women. Before, it was the Chorus of men that was disrespectful to her, but now Clytaemnestra takes charge and belittles all of them instead. This reversal calls the role of women in Greek society into question.

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