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Pelops Character Analysis

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 Electra, both directly through Aegisthus’s mention of Pelops and indirectly through Orestes’s deceitful story of his own death in a chariot accident during the Pythian Games. Sophocles implies that this curse is responsible for much of the strife within the royal house of Atreus, including Aegisthus’s murder of Atreus, Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigenia, and the cycle of revenge that follows.

Pelops Quotes in Electra

The Electra quotes below are all either spoken by Pelops or refer to Pelops. 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 1-85 Quotes

To the left the famous temple of Hera. The place
We have reached you may call Mycenae, rich in gold,
And here the palace of Atreus, rich in blood.
From here, some years ago, when your father was murdered,
Your sister Electra handed you into my care.
I carried you off, I saved your life, and then
I brought you up as my own, until you reached
Your prime of manhood, to avenge your father’s murder.

Related Characters: Old Slave (speaker), Electra, Orestes, Clytemnestra, Aegisthus, Agamemnon, Atreus, Pelops, Zeus
Page Number: 7-14
Explanation and Analysis:
Lines 251-470 Quotes

Women, all these laments of mine must make
Me seem so very embittered. I feel ashamed.
I’m forced to do it, though. You must forgive me.
A woman of noble birth could not act otherwise.
When she sees the troubles that haunt her father’s house
Not fading away but growing day and night.

Related Characters: Electra (speaker), Clytemnestra, Aegisthus, The Chorus, Agamemnon, Iphigenia , Atreus, Pelops
Page Number: 254-260
Explanation and Analysis:
Lines 473-515 Quotes

When Pelops in past ages
Won the race with his chariot,
What never-ending sorrow
Struck this land!
When Myrtilus, his helper,
Was drowned beneath the ocean
Tossed headlong from his chariot,
He cursed the race of Pelops
And died in great anguish.
Since that day
This palace has been haunted
By suffering and anguish.

Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Electra, Orestes, Agamemnon, Iphigenia , Atreus, Pelops, Myrtilus
Page Number: 504-515
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Electra LitChart as a printable PDF.
Electra PDF

Pelops Character Timeline in Electra

The timeline below shows where the character Pelops appears in Electra. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 473-515
Justice and Revenge Theme Icon
...to say that this land of Argos has been struck with eternal misery ever since Pelops won his chariot race and Myrtilus cursed him. (full context)
Lines 1398-1510
Justice and Revenge Theme Icon
...the very spot where Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon. Aegisthus wails that because of “the curse of Pelops’s house,” there’s already been so much destruction in the palace that any more seems unnecessary.... (full context)