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November 16, 2018


#Classic Electra

by N@ncy

  • Author: Sophocles
  • Title: Electra
  • Written: 410 BC
  • Revenge  is a dish best served cold.
  • Plot:  read the backround and storyline on Wikipedia.
  • Reading time: 1 hour 15 min



  1. This was truly a exceptional play.
  2. One settting…a few characters a
  3. pressure-cooker domestic drama
  4. …that keeps us waiting for the climax!



  • Electra – princess of Argos
  • King Agamemnon – king of Argos
  • Clytemnestra – queen of Argos (father was the king of Sparta) sister of Helen of Troy
  • Iphigenia – princess of Argos (sacrificed to gods by her father)
  • Orestes – prince of Argos (twin brother Electra)
  • Aegisthus – cousin of King Agamemnon….lover of Clytemnestra
  • Chrysothemis – princess of Argos ( tries to calm Electra down!)
  • Unlike her sister….she does not seek vengeance against her mother.



  1. Pity: Lavinia is killed under false pretenses
  2. Fear: imagining what we would have done if we were in Electra’s shoes
  3. Flaw: Electra fails to balance passion (grief father’s murder) with reason.
  4. Recognition: Orestes pretends to be dead; he returns to Mycenae…is reunited with Electra.
  5. Pathos: Electra evokes our pathos when she
  6. ….says after hearing of the death of her brother
  7. ….there is no one to protect her. (appeals to our emotions…)
  8. “No. There was someone (brother). Here are his ashes.”
  9. Electra uses pathos: When she still believes her brother is dead,
  10. she makes an emotional speech over his urn,
  11. begging to be dead and put into the urn as well.
  12. Here, she is using pathos in an attempt
  13. …to convince a higher power to take her life



  1. Fast moving play filled with dramatic irony
  2. …WE know more than the characters.
  3. That will keep any Greek on the edge of their chair!
  4. Question:
  5. Did Sophocles ever watch TV show Sisters (1991-1996)
  6. Here are my thoughts about that!


  1. Major themes: is definitely betrayal, justice and revenge.
  2. Agamemnon betrays is wife Clytemnestra
  3. by to sacrificing his daughter (Lavinia) to the goddess Artemis.
  4. Clytemnestra betrays her husband
  5. ….by her affair with Aegisthus (King’s cousin) while he was at sea.


  1. Loyalty: Family loyalty surpasses loyalty to the state.
  2. For Electra vengeance remains necessary.


  1. Murders: wife kills husband (avenge her daughter’s death)
  2. With the aid of Electra, Orestes kills both his mother and her lover.
  3. Victims of crimes become criminals themselves.


  1. Strong point: Chrysothemis  This character gave the play a modern feeling!
  2. She is a superficial girl.
  3. ..accepts the status quo in the family (remarriage mother)
  4. ..but remains very protective and close to Electra.


  1. Strong point: Dialogue:  Chrysothemis speaking to Electra
  2. This sounds like an
  3. …episode of the TV show ‘Sisters’ (1991-1996)


  • Now is the time to start being sensible.
  • Don’ ruin your life in sheer stupidity.
  • You won’t listen to reason at all, will you?
  • Don’t throw your life away on plain stupidity.
  • When you are sane you can think for both of us.
  • Let’s just say there are times when justice is too big a risk.
  • Control yourself!


Last thoughts:

  1. Greek plays are fun to read and ‘read about’.
  2. I always have to prepare dinner before starting a Greek play.
  3. Once I start reading and researching it…I forget to eat!
  4. But the hardest part is trying to find something new to say
  5. …about a play that has been
  6. …with us since time immemorial.
  7. It is just a…
  8. #MustRead.





3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nov 16 2018

    Sounds interesting! I’ve only read Aeschylus’s Electra (in The Oresteia) but not this one.


    • Nov 16 2018

      Written in 410 BC but the dialogue between the sisters feels modern!
      1 hour 15 min….you can read it with a cup of tea or coffee!



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