Agamemnon

Subconcious Motivations and Conscious Triggers of Clytemnestra in Agamemnon 12th Grade

From its first performance in Ancient Greece several centuries ago to present day, Aeschylus’s Agamemnon remains a quintessential example of the definitive Greek tragedy, continually captivating audiences with its progressive depiction of feminine complexity. In the play, women are represented by the anti heroine, Queen Clytemnestra of Mycenae, who in the climax of the first act, vindictively murders the titular King Agamemnon. While psychoanalytical and archetypical criticisms differ in regards to what desire inherently drives the character to murder her husband (power and freedom, or revenge) both identify that Clytemnestra is driven primarily by pre-existing subconscious desires (centered on her identity) that are only ‘realised and awakened’ by conscious life events, specifically, the death of her daughter Iphigenia.

Although the term ‘femme fatale’ was not coined until the twentieth century, literary history has been continually blessed with images of strong women who use their sensuality to skillfully manipulate those around them. Clytemnestra, protagonist of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, is one such example. As Sneed writes, Aeschylus’s anti heroine ‘embodies every characteristic of a classic femme fatale’ by ‘avoiding...

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