The Eumenides



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The Eumenides Characters


The son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, Orestes is in exile from his home city of Argos because he killed his mother (who herself killed his father). Pious and moral, Orestes is hounded by the… read analysis of Orestes


The goddess of wisdom, civilization, justice, and skill, and a daughter of Zeus. Athena is the patron of Athens and the judge in Orestes’ trial. She strives for justice, but at the same time… read analysis of Athena

The Furies

Ancient goddesses of vengeance, the Furies (or Erinyes) pursue and punish those who have sworn false oaths or betrayed sacred laws. In The Eumenides, they seek to punish Orestes for having killed his mother… read analysis of The Furies


The god of light, prophecy, and music, Apollo is Orestes’ patron and has vowed to protect him. He despises the Furies, and believes that they have no right to seek vengeance against Orestes… read analysis of Apollo

The ghost of Clytemnestra

The murderous wife of Agamemnon who was in turn killed by Orestes, Clytemnestra returns from the dead to urge the Furies to punish her son for her death. She represents the old system of… read analysis of The ghost of Clytemnestra
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The former king of Argos, husband of Clytemnestra, and father of Orestes, Electra, and Iphigenia. Agamemnon was murdered by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus in Agamemnon, the first play of Aeschylus’s cycle… read analysis of Agamemnon


The king of the gods, Zeus is the father of Athena, Hermes, and Apollo, and is often invoked by other characters in their speeches and prayers. All the actions of the play… read analysis of Zeus
Minor Characters
Another Olympian god, Hermes is called upon by his half-brother, Apollo, to guide Orestes to Athens. Hermes is the messenger of the gods, a trickster, and the guide who brings dead souls down to the Underworld.
The priestess of Apollo, she is horrified to discover both Orestes and the Furies at her temple, where Orestes is waiting to be cleansed.
Athenian citizens
Ten honorable men whom Athena chooses to serve as Orestes’ jury.
Athenian women
Athena summons these women to honor the Furies after she has converted the Furies into the “Eumenides,” goddesses of Athens.
The daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, and sister to Orestes. She doesn’t appear in The Eumenides, but played a major role in The Libation Bearers. Electra is pious and loyal to her father’s memory, but unforgiving and merciless towards her mother.
A daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, whom Agamemnon sacrificed to the gods in exchange for safe passage during the Trojan War. Iphigenia’s murder incites Clytemnestra to avenge her by killing Agamemnon in the first play of the cycle, Agamemnon.
Clytemnestra’s lover, and her accomplice in murdering Agamemnon. Aegisthus is also Agamemnon’s cousin, and hates the House of Atreus, which was responsible for his own family’s ruin. Orestes murders Aegisthus alongside Clytemnestra in The Libation Bearers.
Agamemnon’s father, and the patriarch of the cursed “House of Atreus.” Atreus brought down the curse of the gods when he punished his brother (who had stolen Atreus’s wife and, briefly, his kingdom) by killing his brother’s children, cooking them, and feeding them to him.