Agamemnon

The Chorus Character Analysis

A group of elderly citizens of Argos. These men were too old to fight in the Trojan War, but they have vast knowledge of the history of the war, as well as Agamemnon’s family and ancestors. Throughout the play, they provide a proxy for the audience and provide them with important contextual information.

The Chorus Quotes in Agamemnon

The Agamemnon quotes below are all either spoken by The Chorus or refer to The Chorus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Revenge Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harvard University Press edition of Agamemnon published in 1926.
Lines 1-354 Quotes

Then Agamemnon, the older king, spoke up:
“It’s harsh not to obey this fate—
but to go through with it is harsh as well,
to kill my child, the glory of my house,
to stain a father’s hands before the altar
with streams of virgin’s blood.
Which of my options is not evil?
How can I just leave this fleet,
and let my fellow warriors down?
Their passionate demand for sacrifice
to calm the winds lies within their rights—
even the sacrifice of virgin blood.
So be it. All may be well.”

But when Agamemnon strapped on
the harsh yoke of necessity,
his spirits changed, and his intentions
became profane, unholy, unsanctified.
He undertook an act beyond all daring.
Troubles come, above all, from delusions
inciting men to rash designs, to evil.
So Agamemnon steeled his heart
to make his own daughter the sacrifice,
an offering for the Achaean fleet…

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Iphigenia
Page Number: 206-229
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Agamemnon quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

CHORUS
Is this report reliable? Is there proof?
CLYTEMNESTRA
Of course there is. Unless some god deceives me.
CHORUS
Has some vision persuaded you of this,
something in a dream, perhaps?
CLYTEMNESTRA
Not at all.
As if I’d listen to some dozing brain.
CHORUS
Perhaps some unfledged rumour raised your hopes?
CLYTEMNESTRA
Now you’re insulting my intelligence,
as if I were a youngster, just a child.

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Clytemnestra
Page Number: 271-276
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco la

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate vel

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation uLorem iLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lines 355-782 Quotes

The people’s voice, once angered,
can create dissent, ratifying a curse
which now must have its way.
And so, in my anxiety, I wait,
listening for something murky,
something emerging from the gloom.
For gods aren’t blind to men who kill.
In time, black agents of revenge,
the Furies, wear down and bring to nothing
the fortunes of a man who prospers
in unjust ways. They wear him out,
reverse his luck, and bring him at last
among the dead. There’s no remedy.
To boast too much of one’s success
is dangerous—the high mountain peak
is struck by Zeus’ lightning bolt.
I’d choose wealth no one could envy.
May I never be the sort of man
who puts whole cities to the sword.
Let me never see myself enslaved,
my life in someone else’s power.

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Agamemnon, The Furies, Zeus
Page Number: 455-475
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exeLorem Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillu

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, su

Old violent aggression
loves to generate new troubles
among evil men—soon or late,
when it’s fated to be born,
new violence springs forth,
a spirit no one can resist or conquer,
unholy recklessness,
dark ruin on the home,
like the destructiveness
from which it sprang.
But Righteousness shines out
from grimy dwellings, honouring
the man who lives in virtue.
She turns her eyes away
from gold-encrusted mansions
where men’s hands are black,
and moves towards integrity,
rejecting power and wealth,
which, though praised, are counterfeit.
Righteousness leads all things
to well-deserved fulfillment.

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker)
Page Number: 763-782
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatLorem ipL

Lines 783-1033 Quotes

For, as we know, boundaries
of vigorous health break down—
disease is always pressing hard
the common wall between them.
So with the fate of men.
It holds to a straight course,
then, all at once, can crash
upon a hidden rock of grief.
But if, as a precaution,
men toss overboard
some part of their rich cargo,
and time their throw just right,
the house, though grieving,
will not completely founder,
nor will its hull be swamped.
And Zeus’ bountiful rich gifts
reaped from the furrows every year
hold off the plague of famine.
But once a murdered man’s dark blood
has soaked the ground, who then
can bring him back through song?

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Zeus
Page Number: 1001-1021
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt inLorem ipLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut la

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pa

Lines 1331-1675 Quotes

To rest unsatisfied amid great wealth
is in the nature of all human beings.
No one can point and order it away
from princely homes by uttering the words
“Dissatisfaction, enter here no more!”
Take Agamemnon. The powers in heaven
permitted him to capture Priam’s town,
to return home honoured by the gods.
But now, if he must pay the penalty
for blood which other men before him shed
and die in retribution for the dead
he killed himself, what mortal human being
who hears all this can boast he lives
a life unscarred by fate?

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Agamemnon, Priam
Page Number: 1331-1343
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pLoremLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis

CHORUS

O that some Fate would soon come,
free from suffering and quick,
bringing endless sleep,
our last eternal sleep,
now our gracious lord is dead.
For a woman’s sake
he suffered much, and now
by a woman’s hand he died.

Alas for you, Helen, frantic woman.
On your own, beneath Troy’s walls,
you slaughtered many lives,
and more than many.
Now you wear your final garland—
one long remembered for the blood
which will never wash away.
Back then in this house
lived a spirit of strife,
a power that broke our king.

CLYTEMNESTRA
Don’t torment yourself like this, invoking
death and fate, or redirect your rage
on Helen, as if she killed those men,
all those Danaan lives, all by herself,
and brought us pain past remedy.

Related Characters: Clytemnestra (speaker), The Chorus (speaker), Agamemnon, Helen
Page Number: 1448-1468
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

One disgrace exchanged for yet another,
the struggle to decide is hard.
The man who sins is sinned against,
the killer pays the price.
Yet while Zeus sits upon his throne
this decree from god remains—
the man who acts will suffer.
Who can then cast from this house
its self-perpetuating curse?
This race is wedded to destruction.

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Zeus
Page Number: 1560-1569
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehender

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irurLorem ipsLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud

Get the entire Agamemnon LitChart as a printable PDF.
Agamemnon.pdf.medium

The Chorus Character Timeline in Agamemnon

The timeline below shows where the character The Chorus appears in Agamemnon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 1-354
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
...the palace to inform the queen that he has seen the signal fire, and the Chorus enters. The Chorus (which speaks all together) is made up of a group of elderly... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus then explains that during the war, the goddess Artemis had sent strong winds to delay... (full context)
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The Chorus implores Clytemnestra to tell them what has happened, and she gives them the good news... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
Clytemnestra describes to the Chorus the system of signal fires that was used in order relay the news to Argos,... (full context)
Lines 355-782
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus thanks Zeus for destroying Troy, and comments that Troy’s downfall is evidence for the gods... (full context)
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
...forward, all the gods will look favorably upon the Greeks. He then confirms for the Chorus that Troy has fallen and that Agamemnon is on his way home. (full context)
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus, anxious about mounting unrest in Argos, tells the Herald that the army will be welcome... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Herald reminds the Chorus that even though there were hardships in the past, the Trojan War is now over... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Clytemnestra appears and scolds the Chorus for not believing her about the war’s end earlier. She gloats that despite the Chorus’s... (full context)
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus asks what has happened to Menelaus’ half of the Greek fleet. The Herald says that... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus considers Helen and the fact that one woman could bring so much destruction and strife.... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus declares that violent and evil acts breed more of the same kind. They go on... (full context)
Lines 783-1033
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus greets Agamemnon with honesty, claiming that not all of the citizens would be so willing... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
Although the Chorus has just witnessed Agamemnon’s safe return, their anxieties have not been quelled, and they can... (full context)
Lines 1034-1330
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
...inside, but Cassandra remains silent. At first, Clytemnestra tries to reason with Cassandra, and the Chorus urges her to follow the queen’s orders, citing that fate has brought her to this... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus gathers around Cassandra, and she falls into a trance-like state. Her disparate phrases and thoughts... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus asks Cassandra how she came to be a prophet, and with a little probing, Cassandra... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
...Thyestes) eating his own cooked children, Cassandra explicitly declares that Agamemnon will be murdered. The Chorus, however, cannot seem to make the connection between the crimes of Agamemnon’s father (Atreus) and... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus asks Cassandra what man would possibly murder the king—they are completely unable to imagine that... (full context)
Lines 1331-1675
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
The Chorus considers Cassandra’s prophecy. They conclude that if the prophecy is indeed true, and that if... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
All of a sudden, from within the palace, Agamemnon screams twice. The Chorus goes into a state of panic, each member suggesting conflicting ideas for what to do... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...confesses to killing Agamemnon and details how she murdered him by stabbing him twice. The Chorus wants Clytemnestra to be banished, but she retorts that their judgment is a double standard—the... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
The Chorus calls Clytemnestra ambitious and arrogant. Unfazed, Clytemnestra interrupts them and goes on to reveal that... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
The Chorus laments that all this violence and suffering was for the sake of woman, and connects... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
Clytemnestra continues to justify her revenge to the Chorus and admits no guilt for the murder. The Chorus cries out in grief for the... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...where Agamemnon’s father Atreus cooked Aegisthus’ brothers and fed them to Aegisthus’ father, Thyestes. The Chorus then accuses Aegisthus of being cowardly and womanly for not fighting in the war, and... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
War and Its Aftermath Theme Icon
Fate and the Gods Theme Icon
Aegisthus threatens the Chorus with his soldiers, but Clytemnestra stops the moment from escalating into more violence. As Aegisthus... (full context)