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Themes and Colors
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Agamemnon, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Agamemnon is the first play in The Oresteia, Aeschylus’ trilogy of tragedies which portray a set of revenges, each leading to the next in a vicious cycle, in the House of Atreus (the family and descendants of Atreus, Agamemnon’s father). Revenge is the backbone of The Oresteia, and it drives most of the action of Agamemnon. The play’s gradual build towards Clytemnestra’s violent revenge on her husband Agamemnon and the upheaval…

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The historical context and political climate in Agamemnon revolves around the Trojan War, which comes to an end in the first moments of the play. Each of the characters is eventually forced to grapple with how the outcome of this colossal war has affected their lives. The Chorus not only provides us with key historical information about the war, but also offers important emotional perspective that guides the audience’s understanding of the war’s personal effects…

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Ancient Greek society’s expectations of men and women and the significance of these roles come to the forefront in Agamemnon’s central characters. In this society men were expected to be strong, decisive, and honorable, while women were thought to be passive, and were expected to be subservient and silent. The Watchman, the Chorus, and the Herald laud Agamemnon for fulfilling the duties expected of a man and for being a solid and…

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Throughout the play, very little happens that hasn’t already been prophesized or predetermined. The Chorus often expresses the idea that ultimately the gods have total control over the fates of the mortals who populate the story. The first major prophecy occurs before the play even begins, when Agamemnon is advised to sacrifice his daughter in order to get the advantage in the Trojan War. This prophecy and Agamemnon’s reaction to it create the given circumstances…

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