Electra

by

Sophocles

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Electra

Electra is the play’s protagonist, and she is the sister of Orestes, Iphigenia, and Chrysothemis as well as the daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. When Electra is first introduced, she is “bitterly”… read analysis of Electra

Orestes

Orestes is Electra’s brother and Clytemnestra and Agamemnon’s son. As a small child, Orestes is handed over to the old slave by Electra to save his life. As Aegisthus had murdered Agamemnon on… read analysis of Orestes

Clytemnestra

Clytemnestra is Electra, Orestes, Iphigenia, and Chrysothemis’s mother, the wife of Aegisthus, and the former wife of Agamemnon. After Agamemnon sacrificed Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis to aid the… read analysis of Clytemnestra

Aegisthus

Aegisthus is Clytemnestra’s second husband and the king of Mycenae in Electra. After Agamemnon sacrificed his and Clytemnestra’s daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis, Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon as revenge on Clytemnestra’s behalf… read analysis of Aegisthus

Chrysothemis

Chrysothemis is Electra and Orestes’s sister and the daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. Chrysothemis represents the oppression of women in ancient Greek society within the play. Unlike Electra, Chrysothemis is accepting of Aegisthusread analysis of Chrysothemis
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The Chorus

The chorus is a group of Mycenean women. The chorus serves mainly to console Electra and advance and enrich the plot, but they also highlight the sexist nature of ancient Greek society and provide evidence… read analysis of The Chorus

Agamemnon

Agamemnon is Clytemnestra’s first husband and father to Electra, Orestes, Iphigenia, and Chrysothemis. According to Greek myth, after Agamemnon offended the goddess Artemis and she stalled the winds, halting the… read analysis of Agamemnon

Iphigenia

Iphigenia is Agamemnon and Clytemnestra’s daughter and sister to Electra, Orestes, and Chrysothemis. According to Greek mythology, Agamemnon sacrificed Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis to appease the goddess after offending her… read analysis of Iphigenia

Atreus

Atreus was Agamemnon’s father and the former king of Mycenae. The “palace of Atreus” and the “royal house of Atreus” are mentioned several times in Electra. These terms refer to both Atreus’s reign… read analysis of Atreus

The Delphic Oracle

The high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi serves as the most important oracle in Greek mythology. The Delphic oracle is said to speak the words of Apollo, and she speaks only in… read analysis of The Delphic Oracle

Old Slave

The unnamed old slave is Orestes’s tutor, and the man to whom Electra gave infant Orestes after Agamemnon was murdered by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. Electra had feared that Clytemnestra and Aegisthus would kill… read analysis of Old Slave

Pelops

Pelops was Atreus’s father and Agamemnon’s grandfather. Pelops was cursed by Myrtilus before Pelops killed Myrtilus by throwing him from a chariot into the sea. This curse is referenced several times in Electraread analysis of Pelops

Myrtilus

Myrtilus was the charioteer of the king of Pisa, who, in a chariot race against Pelops, was bribed by Pelops to sabotage the king’s chariot. According to some versions of the myth, once Pelops… read analysis of Myrtilus

Menelaus

Menelaus is Agamemnon’s brother. Clytemnestra claims that Agamemnon sacrificed Iphigenia to help Menelaus, which is a direct reference to Menelaus’s wife, Helen, and the Trojan War. In Greek mythology, Helen left Menelaus and ran… read analysis of Menelaus

Artemis

Artemis is the Greek goddess of the wilderness and the hunt. According to Electra, Agamemnon incurred the wrath of Artemis when he shot a stag from her “sacred grove” and “accidentally let fall some… read analysis of Artemis

Nemesis

Nemesis is the Greek goddess of retribution. According to myth, Nemesis punishes those who display hubris, and Clytemnestra implies that Orestes’s death at the Pythian Games (which turns out to have been a lie)… read analysis of Nemesis

Pylades

Pylades is Orestes’s close friend. Pylades accompanies Orestes to Mycenae with the old slave and, at the end of the play, he helps kill Clytemnestra and perhaps Aegisthus as well. Pylades personifies loyalty in… read analysis of Pylades

The Furies

The Furies are the female deities of vengeance in Greek mythology. Electra prays to the “dread Furies” to “punish” Clytemnestra for the murder of Agamemnon, and they represent revenge throughout the play. According to… read analysis of The Furies
Minor Characters
Apollo
Apollo is the Greek god of truth and prophecy who speaks through the Delphic oracle.
Zeus
Zeus is the Greek god of the sky and thunder and the king of the Olympian gods. Several characters in Electra pray to Zeus at some point or another during the play.