Electra is a fierce, bitter, and utterly unsympathetic character. She is, in fact, the villain of the play. Do you agree?
This question asks you to analyze the protagonist of the play, Electra. You could write very different essays agreeing or disagreeing with the question's premise, but either way, remember to weigh both sides of the argument. Consider the notion of justice as posited in the play, and how Electra's actions might fit into a moral schema.
Electra, not Orestes, is the hero of Sophocles' play, and this is key to how the play works. Do you agree?
This questions asks you to consider the play as a whole and consider how it is constructed. Do you think it is central that Electra is the hero and not Orestes? You might wish to compare and contrast with the Oresteia - in which Orestes, of course, is the hero - and see what differences you can find.
What does it mean, according to Sophocles' Electra, to be a woman?
Gender roles are a major component of Sophocles' vision. Look particularly at how Electra compares to the other major woman in the play, her sister, Chrysothemis, and draw on what you know about ancient Greek attitudes toward women. How typical is Electra for her day?
Is Orestes right to kill his mother?
Sophocles avoids any definite answer to this question, so it is up to the student to formulate his/her own opinion. Again, the notion of justice must be taken into account, and particularly the potential dangers of "eye for an eye" logic. Sophocles does suggest that the killing continues long after the play closes. Is this "right"? Is the word "right" even valuable in this landscape?
How does Sophocles present Electra? How does this presentation differ from other presentations of the Electra story you have read?
This question asks you to consider Sophocles' play against other versions of the same story: particularly that in the Oresteia and in Euripides' Electra. All the Electras are very different, and that will be easy to draw out - a good essay though will also note similarities in the presentations.
What is justice, according to Electra?
This question asks you to examine the play as a whole in the light of a single overarching theme: justice. Begin by defining different possibilities for the meaning of the word, and then, drawing on examples and quotes from the play, look at the way Sophocles explores justice overall.
Sophocles' ending actually does not end the play at all, but only throws its ambiguity into relief. Do you agree?
Here you might consider whether certain questions are answered. This study guide has focused primarily on those questions left open - the said ambiguity so crucial to Sophocles' vision. But is it a fully open ending? Is there perhaps some traditional tragic catharsis one gets from the bloodshed?
Agamemnon is the central character of Sophocles' Electra. Do you agree?
In a sense, this question is a bit of a trick - Agamemnon, of course, doesn't appear in the play. But, in a way, Agamemnon is incredibly important to the plot as a whole, and the whole play is motivated by his actions and his death. You might want to argue that another character is more central, but don't forget too to investigate how Agamemnon might be important - the invisible catalyst for all that transpires.
Electra is typical of Greek tragedies you have read. Is this true?
This question asks you to compare Sophocles' play to other Greek tragedies you have read, and analyze how typical Sophocles' play is of the tradition. You might wish to focus on one aspect of the play: its plot, its characters, its language, its treatment of women. Consider also Electra as a character; she stands out in the Greek canon for many reasons, and any one of them could make an essay.
Sophocles takes characters from myth, and turns them from stock types into real humans. Do you agree?
This question asks you to look at the way Sophocles' characters are presented, and think about how convincing and human you find them to be. Think particularly about the women: Clytemnestra, for example, is given far more depth in this play as a human than she is in some other presentations. Electra subverts expectation at every turn. Are there other examples (male or female) of humanist portrayals?