Electra

by

Sophocles

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Artemis Character Analysis

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 boastful words.” As punishment for his actions, Artemis stalled the winds, and the Greek warriors were unable to set sail for the Trojan War. Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia, to appease Artemis, after which she changed the winds and allowed the ships to sail. Both Electra and Clytemnestra also invoke Artemis as the goddess of virginity and unwed women.

Artemis Quotes in Electra

The Electra quotes below are all either spoken by Artemis or refer to Artemis. 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:
Grief, Mourning, and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Electra published in 2008.
Lines 516-822 Quotes

Very well, then, listen. You say you killed my father.
What admission could be more shameful than that,
Whether or not justice was on your side?
I put it to you, it wasn’t justice that drove
You to kill him. No, you were seduced by the evil man
Who is now your partner. Ask Artemis, the hunter
Goddess, why she becalmed the fleet at Aulis,
As none of the winds would blow. What was she punishing?
I’ll give you the answer. We can’t cross-question her.
My father, as I’ve been told, was out on a hunt
In Artemis’ sacred grove, when his footfall startled
A dappled stag from its covert. After he’d shot it,
He accidentally let fall some boastful words.
This made the goddess angry, and so she held
The Greek fleet up, to make my father atone
For the stag by sacrificing his daughter.
That’s how it occurred. It was the only solution.
The ships couldn’t sail back home or across to Troy.
He sacrificed Iphigenia under compulsion;
With great reluctance. It wasn’t for Menelaus.

Related Characters: Electra (speaker), Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, Iphigenia , Menelaus, Artemis
Page Number: 558-576
Explanation and Analysis:
Lines 1098-1383 Quotes

ELECTRA:
I swear, yes, I swear, Artemis be my strength,
I’ll never stoop to fear my old foes again.
Those stay-at-homes, those spare weights
On earth’s floor, those womenfolk!

ORESTES:
Be careful, now. The spirit of war can still be strong
In women. Your own experience should tell you that.

Related Characters: Electra (speaker), Orestes (speaker), Artemis
Page Number: 1239-1244
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Electra LitChart as a printable PDF.
Electra PDF

Artemis Character Timeline in Electra

The timeline below shows where the character Artemis appears in Electra. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 516-822
Grief, Mourning, and Morality Theme Icon
Justice and Revenge Theme Icon
...by Aegisthus. Furthermore, Electra says, Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigenia was not for Menelaus but for Artemis, and since the sacrifice was for a goddess, Agamemnon had no choice but to go... (full context)
Gender and Society Theme Icon
Deception, Falsehood, and Trust Theme Icon
Clytemnestra swears by Artemis that Electra’s behavior will eventually catch up to her, but for now, Clytemnestra just wants... (full context)
Lines 1098-1383
Justice and Revenge Theme Icon
Gender and Society Theme Icon
...to keep quiet and be patient, but she can’t see why she should, swearing to  Artemis that she will never be afraid of her enemies again and referring to “those womenfolk”... (full context)