When Agamemnon arrives at the palace, Clytemnestra convinces him to enter into the palace as a returning conqueror walking on a luxurious swath of purple tapestries. Agamemnon is aware that walking on these cloths may be unfavorable in the eyes of the gods — that the gods may see his walking on the cloths as a sign of excessive arrogance — yet he does so anyway. The tapestries thus signify Agamemnon’s act of hubris: an act (however small) of pride or defiance to the gods that eventually leads to downfall.
The Purple Tapestries Quotes in Agamemnon
Daughter of Leda, guardian of my home,
your speech was, like my absence, far too long.
Praise that’s due to us should come from others.
Then it’s worthwhile. All those things you said—
don’t puff me up with such female honours,
or grovel there before me babbling tributes,
like some barbarian. Don’t invite envy
to cross my path by strewing it with cloth.
That’s how we honour gods, not human beings.
For a mortal man to place his foot like this
on rich embroidery is, in my view,
not without some risk. So I’m telling you
honour me as a man, not as a god.
My fame proclaims itself. It does not need
foot mats made out of such embroideries.
Not even to think of doing something bad
is god’s greatest gift. When a man’s life ends
in great prosperity, only then can we declare
that he’s a happy man. Thus, if I act,
in every circumstance, as I ought to now,
there’s nothing I need fear.