Importance of the Tutor in Electra

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Importance of the Tutor in Electra

When delving into a novel, drama or other character-based text, analysts often focus their search around the supposed "major characters" who seem to most directly affect the work. In considering Electra, however, just as valuable as Orestes, Clytemnestra or Electra herself is a somewhat minor character, the Tutor. This attendant of Orestes emerges only three times and is on stage for less than twenty percent of the spoken lines, yet his role in driving the plot is as great as any. If Aristotle, one of the true masters of ancient thought, is correct in saying "The Plot, then, is the first principle, and, as it were, the soul of a tragedy," then the Tutor can truly be considered one of the most …show more content…

This tragedy hinges on the deception that enables Orestes to murder the king and queen, a deception provided entirely by the Tutor. Not only does he fabricate Orestes' death but also tries to further build Clytemnestra's false confidence with distinct allusions to her newly gained safety. He introduces himself to the queen as a bearer of "good news"(667) and upon seeing her mixed reaction to this news he tries to sway her towards confidence with lines like, "My lady, why so sad?"(768) and "So it seems that I have come in vain"(772). The Tutor proves himself to be a master of deception while within his lie subtly glorifying both Orestes and his father. He slips in mention of "Agamemnon, who commanded all / The Greeks at Troy"(694-695) and praises his son as "admired by all"(684), "swift and strong / No less than beautiful"(685-686) and the driver of the finest "Thessalian mares"(703) in the world. An observer of the scene might consider this exaltation a sort of eulogy of the fallen son, but with the knowledge that Orestes will soon rise up to dethrone his parents there is rich irony in such boasting, deep undertones that further solidify the Tutor's position of importance.

With the beguiling speech offered by the Tutor, the concepts of "Peripeteia or Reversal of the Situation, and Recognition" are both infused into

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