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Clytemnestra: The Dominant Woman in Agamemnon

            In Aeschylus" tragedy Agamemnon, the strongest female role seen in any play to date, is that of the character of Clytemnestra. She is portrayed as powerful, dominating, and strong-willed women, which was not a common characteristic of any women presented in Ancient Greece. One of the most important characteristic that Clytemnestra has is what the watchmen called, "her male strength of heart" (11). She possesses a very strong and powerful presence in the play and this strength can be seen in many instances throughout the play. Aeschylus makes her character so dominant, by skillfully reversing the roles between the male characters and Clytemnestra. Her strength of character is not merely of a dominating and authoritative woman but of a wronged mother and vengeful wife. She succeeds in willfully gaining her revenge against her powerful husband. In a male dominated society she stands as a symbol of courage and versatility, as it was not easy for a woman of her time to posses such authority and influence. Clytemnestra's character demands complex and clever handling especially if we keep the Greek society in mind and Aeschylus does that with skill.
             Clytemnestra is introduced in the play, following the death of her daughter, Iphigenia. Agamemnon according to societal pressures had to sacrifice his daughter in order to appease the gods. From the start of the play it is evident that Clytemnestra is not prepared to accept this fact. Early in the play, Clytemnestra tells us that she has suffered greatly, and mentions the loss of her daughter Iphigenia. After the return of Agamemnon from the Trojan War Clytemnestra's opinions would have not be heard. If she had obeyed all the codes of her society she would not have gained control of her destiny. The role of women in Greek society was not one of power and authority. Clytemnestra had the courage to take matters into her own hands and plan her own destiny.

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