How Does Aeschylus Use Bird Symbols In Agamemnon

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In the play Agamemnon, there are many symbolism in it and a prominent one is symbolism of animals. There are not a lot of bird symbolism but they are still significant due to the reason that Aeschylus uses bird symbolism in Agamemnon to emphasize a certain characteristics of a character. This can be seen in Agamemnon and Menelaus portrayed as eagles, Cassandra symbolised as a nightingale, and Clytemnestra depicted as a crow. First, the earliest example of Aeschylus using bird symbolism in the play Agamemnon was with Agamemnon and Menelaus, as the two were portrayed as eagles. At the beginning of the book, the Chorus discussed about the war and talked about the two kings. The chorus tells us that “their cry of war went shrill from the heart,…show more content…
When Cassandra was predicting Agamemnon’s death and her own, the Chorus commented on the how she was possessed by a God and singing a “wild lyric” (1143). Following that, they then compare Cassandra to a brown nightingale that has “long life of tears weeping forever” (1144-1145), but Cassandra disagrees and says that “the nightingale 's pure song and a fate like hers. With fashion of beating wings the gods clothed her about and a sweet life gave her without lamentation. But mine is the sheer edge of the tearing iron.” (1146-1149). First, the Chorus portrays her to a nightingale, but not just a regular nightingale, but to a woman in Greek mythology named Procne who has been transformed into a nightingale and is grieving over Itys, her dead son. Itys was also mention beforehand when the chorus says “the wild lyric as in clamor to Itys” (1143) to show what the nightingale was grieving about. So Procne was the wife of the king of Athens, however, her husband raped her sister Philomela when Philomela was visiting. As revenge, Procne murdered their own son Itys and served him to her husband. When he found out, he tried to murder both Procne and Philomela, but during the chase, the two women prayed to the gods, who turned them both into birds to escape. So when comparing Cassandra to the grieving Procne, it shows how much sadness that the…show more content…
However, the bird symbolism also gives further insight to the different characters, such as Agamemnon and Menelaus having a type of parental love for the ones they care about, Cassandra foreshadowing even more about her death, and Clytemnestra feeling no remorse for murdering her

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