Electra by Sophocles is a play that revolves around the idea of revenge. Nearly all characters seek to right some wrong that was done on to them creating a cycle of hate and disgust. The basis of the story centers on Electra and her misery at the murder of her father Agamemnon. While her father being killed is a tragedy in itself, it’s amplified by the fact that his death was at the hands of his wife Clytemnestra and her new lover Aegisthus. Agamemnon’s surviving children must deal with the fact that their father, a great war hero, was cut down in such a cruel and backstabbing way. The children begin to plan to take out revenge on the pair of murderers for killing their father.
At the beginning of the play we learn that Electra had taken her younger brother Orestes and sent him away to escape the household of murderers while Electra and her younger sister Chrysothemis are left to the unfair treatment of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. Electra herself is treated as a slave in her own father’s household and kept inside the palace while Aegisthus is away and is forced to wear rags. While Chrysothemis is not treated as harshly, she lives suppressed by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus and believes it’s better to follow what they say than to create misery by speaking out.
Partway through the play we find out another reason for the murder of Agamemnon other than the fact that Clytemnestra had taken interest in a new man. Agamemnon had upset the goddess Athena and as a way to repay her and let her have her revenge, he had to sacrifice his young daughter. This action rightly upset his wife to where she sought revenge upon him. The cycle does not stop here though.
To get revenge on the people that murdered Agamemnon, Electra and Orestes come up with a plan. The plan begins with pretending that Orestes had died in a chariot accident. While their parents think he is dead, he will come to the palace acting as someone else. Once he gains access, they will take the first step of their plan by murdering their mother Clytemnestra. They will then wait until Aegisthus returns before executing their second step.
1. Is there any good to getting revenge?
2. Have you ever gotten revenge on someone? (Stories are nice!)