Discuss the character of Clytaemnestra. How far do you think Aeschylus expected the audience to sympathize with her?.
anestra has defied the socially determined places of men and women and has ungendered herself to be certain in her tasks. When the leader questions her she promptly replies him in a clever abrupt manor "No one takes me in with visions-senseless dreams", she is not an ordinary woman and the fact that she finds no meaning in her dreams or gives them any thought shows that she is single minded and is living only to exact her revenge and nothing else and has lost or given up that aspect of her life. Up to now the audience are likely to find her a strong formidable character, she has a presence embedded into the house and has made an impact. .
Clytaemnestra's speeches are truly dramatic and clever. Her first speech contains light imagery, she clearly sees hope amidst darkness "the blaze went dancing on to ecstasy", "torch", "glowing" upon hearing the news of Agamemnon's arrival and this is summed up when she says "it brings dawn to the black widow's face". Clytaemnestra speaks confidently and with no inhabitations "Good-bye to all that glad I am to say". She has adopted the male superior role and thus undermines the roles of the other men around her. The chorus and Clytaemnestra seem to contradict each other, at times seem to unknowingly answer what each other is saying, the chorus say "radiant dreams are passing in the night" and Clytaemnestra feels no need for dreams. Clytaemnestra talks about war and being at peace and satisfied at the end of it which is of course use of her clever dramatic irony but then in another speech by the chorus they talk about "the avenging furies, they will never rest". There is a conflict in morality between the two, the chorus represent the order and moralistic aspect to society " but justice shines in sooty hovels", they are aware that violence begets violence and they can predict this cycle, this breeds the thought that the inevitable will occur.