Chorus Intervention in Aeschylus' the Eumenides and Agamemnon

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In The Eumenides and Agamemnon of The Oresteia trilogy, Aeschylus constructs an over-arching metaphor for elements of the new Athenian democracy. The chorus in each play represents the people who feel under-represented and disrespected, by the society's changing values. In The Eumenides, the chorus of Furies is frustrated with the younger gods and infringements on their power; in Agamemnon the chorus fears more the control of an effective woman in Clytemnestra rather than the leadership of fruitless Agamemnon. Both choruses take direct actions thought to ensure their prominence.

Agamemnon picks of the story eponymous Greek king following the conclusion of the Trojan War. In his absence, his wife Clytemnestra has assumed the throne, and
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1561) Clytemnestra is to them a force which will "hold [them] down" (Agamemnon, Ln. 146), and a "woman [who] made him (Agamemnon) suffer." (Agamemnon, Ln. 1481) They call for the return of Orestes to both avenge his father's death and release them from her rule.

Their view of the future with Clytemnestra as ruler pays no heed to the success of her reign. Even Agamemnon acknowledges that her rule surpassed his: "The storms of ruin live! Her last dying breath, rising up from the ashes sends us gales of incense rich in gold." (Agamemnon, Ln. 804) The chorus' overriding concern is not with success or competency, but only with the preservation of the tradition rule. By first backing Agamemnon and then calling for Orestes murder of Clytemnestra they are seeking to reassert and realign the old order.

While the chorus in Agamemnon is focused on restoring power to Agamemnon as king, the play's sequel, The Eumenides traces the progression of the struggle for power as the chorus of the Furies strives to retain authority.

The metaphorical focus of The Eumenides is the changing values in contemporary Athens. In Athenian democracy's first recorded trial, Orestes is charged with the murder of his mother Clytemnestra. At the prompting of Clytemnestra, the chorus of Furies begins the play by taunting Orestes. This propels Orestes into a public trial. The Furies then work to ensure that matricide, which they
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