Agamemnon Essay examples

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Agamemnon

Agamemnon is the first play of Aeschylus’ trilogy, the Oresteia. Aeschylus was the first of Athens’ three great tragedians; the others: Sophocles; Euripides. The Oresteia was also the first Greek tragedy trilogy written. As Greeks of this epoch focused on humanist ideas, so did Aeschylus. He devoted his genius to serious contemplations of humanistic questions, such as the nature of justice. Other humanistic values are honor, truth, compassion, loyalty, devotion to family and gods. He credits much of his success to Homer’s epics. It is helpful to have read both the Iliad and the Odyssey to understand the Oresteia. I will relate some background information from Homer’s epics as I recount a summary of Aeschylus’
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Zeus refused, and instead chose the shepherd Paris to serve as judge. Each goddess approached Paris in attempts to bribe him with special offerings. Hera offered him a rich kingdom and power; Athena offered him wisdom and military success; Aphrodite offered him love and the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen. Paris chose Aphrodite, thus making enemies of Hera and Athena. They both vowed to destroy Paris and the city of Troy. Upon learning that he would possess Helen, Paris went to Troy and established himself as a true prince, the legitimate son of Priam and Hecuba. He sailed to Sparta where he seduced and later abducted Helen. When King Menelaus, Helen’s husband, returned to Sparta and found that his wife was gone, he summoned a number of Greek generals and leaders, including his brother, King Agamemnon. Agamemnon was elected leader of the armies. As they sailed the Aegean Sea making their journey to Troy, the winds died. It was discovered the Agamemnon had killed a deer sacred to Artemis, goddess of the Hunt. Nothing could pacify her anger except the sacrifice of Iphegenia, Agamemnon’s daughter. After much anguish, Agamemnon sent for his daughter under the false pretense that she was to marry Achilles. Once there, however, he had her sacrificed. The play begins when Agamemnon returns after a ten-year siege at Troy. A chorus chants the story of Menelaus and his brother, but

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