Contrast in Characterization of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra 12th Grade
As the play opens with a soliloquy from the Watchman, he introduces Clytemnestra as one who “wears/ A man’s heart in a woman’s body,/ A man’s dreadful will in the scabbard of her body/ Like a polished blade. A hidden blade” (5). He immediately draws attention to the prominent masculinity of the queen, attacking her lack of femininity in the euphemism “the scabbard of her body” which holds stereotypical male mannerisms instead. By using a simile to compare Clytemnestra to a “hidden blade,” he also accuses her of being secretive and deceitful. The Watchman’s analysis of Queen Clytemnestra is also interesting because he immediately reveals his uncertainties about the political state of Argos in the king’s absence. By admitting his fear after questioning the Queen’s characteristics (since she is ruling in her husband’s place while he is at war), the Watchman may implicitly be linking the Queen’s failure to abide by gender roles with the current disorder in the palace: “Everything’s changed in this palace./ The old days,/ The rightful King, order, safety, splendour,/ A splendour that lifted the heart-/ All gone” (6). Additionally, the Chorus’ description of Artemis also reveals the prevalence of gender stereotypes. As “the mother of...
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