Son of Agamemnon and Clytaemestra. Brother to Electra. On Orestes falls the tremendous burden of history and the Curse on the House of Atreus. Exiled and deprived of his inheritance by his mother, he has returned to avenge his father's death. He has been ordered by the god Apollo to slay Clytaemestra and her lover, Aegisthus. Doing so will win back Orestes' throne, restoring Argos' rightful heir to power.
Daughter of Agamemnon and Clytaemestra. Sister to Orestes. Helpless since the death of her father and exile of her brother, Electra has been reduced to servitude in her own house. She nurses incredible bitterness and hatred for her mother. She has longed for her brother to return, so that he can avenge them both and reclaim his throne.
Orestes friend and faithful companion. He is onstage whenever Orestes is, but he only speaks once in the entire play. That moment is critical: when Orestes doubts if he can really kill his own mother, Pylades spurs him on.
Mother of Orestes and Electra. Wife of the late Agamemnon. Lover of Aegisthus. Grand, dignified, and ruthless, Clytaemestra now rules as tyrant over the city of Argos, as she has ever since she murdered her husband Agamemnon. She has deprived her children of their status and exiled Orestes, in part because she feared that he would avenge his father's death.
Foreign slave women. Though we can assume that many of them became slaves in wars of conquest waged by Agamemnon, they are loyal to his memory. The women of the Chorus despise Aegisthus and Clytaemestra and co-conspire with Orestes and Electra.
Son of Thyestes. Lover of Clytaemestra. Aegisthus is the only surviving son of Theyestes. Thyestes was Atreus' brother and thus Agamemnon's uncle. Atreus killed Thyestes' sons and served them to Thyestes for dinner. Unaware of what the meat in the dish actually was, Thyestes ate every bite. When he learned the truth, he called down a Curse on the House of Atreus. The Curse continues to plague the house to this day. Aegisthus, in killing Agamemnon, was in part motivated by revenge for his slain brothers.
Nurse to Orestes in his boyhood. Cilissa is a slave who nursed Orestes, and she has always had great love for the prince. She has no loyalty for Clytaemestra and Aegisthus, and in fact plays a small but vital role in their deaths.
Follower of Aegisthus
The follower proclaims to the audience the offstage death of Aegisthus. He tries to warn Clytaemestra, but it is too late to save her.
Various attendants and servants
Libation Bearers Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Libation Bearers is a great
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