Summary: The Story Of Electra

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The story of Electra is one that has been retold throughout the ages in different fields, medias, and countries. Having been retold so many times, there are still many core elements of the story remain the same. Both versions of Electra, written by Euripides and Sophocles write about the conflict of justice and how there are two sides to every story. The fixed elements of the myth of Electra, no matter the author or country of origin, is the story of the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra taking revenge against her mother for the murder of her father. Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus plotted the death of Agamemnon, carried it out and took over the throne of Mycenae, demoting Electra and her siblings of their royal status. Electra wishes…show more content…
The fine details of how these events transpire differs due to the different interpretations by Euripides and Sophocles. The story of Electra is one part of a continuation and retelling of the events that transpired after the Trojan War within the family. Changing the basis of the myth could potentially have repercussions for the other myths involved. Euripides was born on Salamis Island in Greece, around 485 BC. His version of Electra, one of 19 surviving tragedies, was written sometime between 420 and 416 BC. At this point in his life, Euripides had endured several divorces, which led him to be a misogynist in real life, and a feminist as a playwright. Euripides’ telling of Electra sees Clytemnestra and Agamemnon’s son, Orestes, taken to Phocis for his own safety by an old servant and to eliminate him as a threat after the murder of his father where he befriends the son of the king, Pylades. Within this version of the myth, Clytemnestra and Aegisthus married Electra off to a kind peasant man in order to get her out of the palace and remove her as a challenge to their new reign. Orestes comes of age and returns to Argos with Pylades in order to avenge his father. The pair disguise themselves as…show more content…
His interpretation of Elektra was written around 410, later in his life, and was considered one of his most successful works. Elektra follows the same premise, with Orestes being sent away to Phocis later returning to Argos under the guise that he had been killed in the Delphic Games, posing as an urn bearer. When Elektra hears news that Orestes is dead, she is distraught that her only hope at avenging her father seems to have disappeared. The chorus that Elektra confides in is comprised of woman of Mycenae, and she also shares her thoughts on her current situation with her sister Chrysothemis, who has accepted their predicament and is therefore treated better than her sister. She responds to Elektra’s complaints about her situation being sarcastically wonderful by saying “But it would be- if you’d only learn to think straight.” (Sophocles, 134) Her sister mentions a lock of hair near their father’s burial offerings and refuses to help Elektra in her plot to kill Aegisthus. At their first meeting, Elektra and Orestes do not recognize each other after having been separated for so many years. With Orestes, Pylades, and Elektra all in cahoots, Clytemnestra begs for mercy yelling “My child, O my child! I gave you birth! Have pity on me!” (Sophocles, 178) and is killed, in a considerably brutal manner, due to Elektra’s goading on of Orestes to “hit
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