History 1002 - Agamemnon

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History 1002
Clytemnestra’s Speech
In Aeschylus's Greek tragedy Oresteia, shortly before the murder of Agamemnon, his wife, Clytemnestra, makes a stirring speech upon his return. The speech is a deceitful foreshadowing of the events to come, rich in double entendres and images of loss and death. Clytemnestra is able to fool not only Agamemnon, but the Chorus over the course of her dubious speech using many techniques of deceit. Clytemnestra's treachery throughout her speech is evident through the use of images, metaphors, and equivocal and ambiguous phrases she uses to skillfully fool the Chorus in Aeschylus's Oresteia.
Clytemnestra cleverly uses the equivocal properties inherent in language for her dastardly purpose. She employs several shrewd images that are misinterpreted by Agamemnon and the Chorus to be a proud and relieved homecoming for her husband’s return. At the beginning of her speech, Clytemnestra said that the "rumors she hears spreads like disease," invoking an image of rot and decay (Aeschylus, 863). Throughout the next few lines, she reports rumors that Agamemnon had "more holes in him than a net" and a "triple cloak of earth", while implying that he was a "second Geryon", or a monstrosity of a man (Aeschylus, 866-872). Clytemnestra says that the rumors that circulated around the city were so unbearable that she “had to be released against her will, from the noose of suicide, more than once” (Aeschylus, 874-875). Clytemnestra also boldly points out that Iphigenia, the "seal of our pledge," is gone, nearly stating that their bonds are extinguished by Agamemnon’s own hands (Aeschylus, 876). After Clytemnestra’s speech, she orders the servants to “strew the path of his feet with these fabrics” and “cover his way with crimson” (Aeschylus, 909-910). Agamemnon walking on the tapestries is a metaphor on many levels and symbolizes many things. It shows…...

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