Clytaemnestra’s Composure and Orestes’ Regrets

The justification scenes in Agamemnon and the Libation Bearers show that both Clytaemnestra and Orestes are able admit their decision of committing murder, but, while Clytaemnestra is able to maintain her composure, Orestes worries himself to the point of insanity, and he ends up regretting the whole thing. Clytaemnestra plans to kill Agamemnon from the moment he returns home. When he arrives, she treats him like a king, but, when he is not on his guard, Clytaemnestra strikes him down.

Orestes flees town, but he knows one day soon he will have to return and kill Clytaemnestra to avenge his father’s death. He disguises himself as a messenger with news of Orestes’ death. When he is invited inside, he has a lengthy conversation with Clytaemnestra, but he eventually finds the strength to kill her.

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Clytaemnestra and Orestes both had different strategies and reasons for the murders they committed, but they were both able to admit their wrongs to everyone. Clytaemnestra shows no regrets in the justification scene in Agamemnon. “I brooded on this trial, this ancient blood feud year by year. At last my hour came.

Here I stand and here I struck And here my work is done. I did it all. I don’t deny it, no. He had no way to flee or fight his destiny. ” (AG 1396-1401) All of the old men of Argos are upset with Clytaemnestra with her killing. She knows she is not in the best situation right now, but she does all she can to not make it worse.

Clytaemnestra is able to come up front and reveal her wrongdoing in front of the entire town. She knows covering the murder up would be a foolish decision. Just like Clytaemnestra, Orestes is also able to admit his decision of murder in the justification scene of the Libation Bearers. And still, while I still have some self-control, I say to my friends in public: I killed my mother, Not with a little justice, She was stained With father’s murder, she was cursed by a god. ” (LB 1023-1026)

With the act of killing his mother, Orestes shows his that he is a very brave man, which would make Agamemnon proud. When Clytaemnestra kills Agamemnon, there are not many consequences. She causes the town to be angry with her, but there is nothing they can do. Clytaemnestra and Agamemnon have a civic bond together. The gods do not bring punishment unless a blood bond murder is committed.

Orestes kills his mother, and they are tied together by blood; therefore, Orestes knows he will have to face the Furies’ wrath. Orestes was caught in a difficult situation. If he does not kill his mother, than he would not avenge his father’s death, which would angry Apollo. If he kills Clytaemnestra, then he might have to face the consequences from the Furies, which could result in death. After killing his mother, Orestes worries himself to the point of insanity, and ends up regretting the whole thing. “This—how can I dignify this…snare for a beast? — heath for a corpse’s feet? This winding-sheet This tent for the bath of death! No, a hunting net, A coiling—what to call—? Foot-trap— Woven of robes…”(LB 990-994)

When Orestes makes this speech, he continuously glances at his mother’s dead body. He is staring at her wondering how could he have killed his own mother, but he knows it is too late to take it all back. His words become staggered, his sentences incomplete. Orestes does not even realize what he is saying. He is just spitting out words. Orestes continues his speech later and shows more signs of uncertainty. I must escape this blood…it is my own. —Must turn towards his hearth, none but his, the Prophet God decreed. ” (LB 1036-1038)

While Orestes speaks these words, he looks at his hand, which still has the sword in it. Before he kills his mother he has a lengthy conversation with her. Clytaemnestra almost convinces Orestes to let her live, but a short speech from Pylades gives Orestes the strength to finish her off. Orestes stares at his mother’s body and at his hand because he wishes he could take it all back. Orestes knows that he will need a miracle to prevent him from death now.

He could have lived a long, happy life with his mother. Yes, he would have the regret of not avenging his father, but at least he would be blessed with a long life. Orestes wishes he would have taken that path, but it is far too late. Clytaemnestra and Orestes both committed the same crime, murder, but they were affected by their crimes in different ways. Clytaemnestra is able to live the rest of her life with no regrets and no consequences from the gods. Orestes has complete regret for his wrongdoing, and he now has to worry about the Furies.

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Clytaemnestra’s Composure and Orestes’ Regrets. (2017, Jan 05). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/clytaemnestras-composure-and-orestes-regrets/