The Libation Bearers

Apollo Character Analysis

The god of the sun, prophecy, and reason, Apollo is not a character within The Libation Bearers (although he does make an appearance in The Eumenides), but Orestes and Pylades often make reference to him. He is Orestes’ patron, and has sent Orestes back to Argos expressly to avenge Agamemnon by killing Clytemnestra. Apollo's blessing makes Orestes believe that his matricide (killing of his mother) is not just divinely sanctioned, but inevitable.

Apollo Quotes in The Libation Bearers

The The Libation Bearers quotes below are all either spoken by Apollo or refer to Apollo. 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:
Revenge Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Libation Bearers published in 1966.
Lines 1-585 Quotes

Apollo will never fail me, no,
his tremendous power, his oracle charges me
to see this trial through.

Related Characters: Orestes (speaker), Apollo
Page Number: 273-275
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lines 719-1065 Quotes

Clytemnestra: Wait, my son—no respect for this, my child?
The breast you held, drowsing away the hours,
soft gums tugging the milk that made you grow?
Orestes: What will I do, Pylades?—I dread to kill my mother!
Pylades: What of the future? What of the Prophet God Apollo,
the Delphic voice, the faith and oaths we swear?
Make all mankind your enemy, not the gods.

Related Characters: Orestes (speaker), Clytemnestra (speaker), Pylades (speaker), Apollo
Page Number: 883-889
Explanation and Analysis:

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Apollo Character Timeline in The Libation Bearers

The timeline below shows where the character Apollo appears in The Libation Bearers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 1-585
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate, the Gods, and Piety Theme Icon
Familial Bonds Theme Icon
Violence, Death, and the Dead Theme Icon
...wary of Aegisthus’ and Clytemnestra’s spies. Orestes responds that he is under the protection of Apollo, and that the god’s oracle has ordered him to hunt down Agamemnon’s killers. He relates... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate, the Gods, and Piety Theme Icon
Familial Bonds Theme Icon
Violence, Death, and the Dead Theme Icon
...house, while he and Pylades will disguise themselves as travellers from Delphi (the shrine of Apollo) and ask for shelter. He predicts that the impious Aegisthus and Clytemnestra may not be... (full context)
Lines 719-1065
Revenge Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate, the Gods, and Piety Theme Icon
Familial Bonds Theme Icon
Violence, Death, and the Dead Theme Icon
...of bloodshed and vengeance that has overtaken the House of Atreus. They next pray to Apollo, praying that he provide light for Orestes’ dark path, and then to Hermes, begging him... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate, the Gods, and Piety Theme Icon
Familial Bonds Theme Icon
Violence, Death, and the Dead Theme Icon
...a baby. Momentarily softening, Orestes asks Pylades what to do. His comrade reminds him that Apollo has ordered Clytemnestra’s death. (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate, the Gods, and Piety Theme Icon
Familial Bonds Theme Icon
Violence, Death, and the Dead Theme Icon
...of the gods, and that his cause was righteous. They then go on to praise Apollo for his purity and justice, and imagine the “proud house” of Atreus in the future.... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Fate, the Gods, and Piety Theme Icon
Familial Bonds Theme Icon
Violence, Death, and the Dead Theme Icon
...his manic state of mind, and his terror. He states that he killed Clytemnestra because Apollo ordered him to, and because she killed Agamemnon—his actions, in short, were just. As Orestes... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate, the Gods, and Piety Theme Icon
Familial Bonds Theme Icon
Violence, Death, and the Dead Theme Icon
...hounds of mother’s hate,” and he becomes manic once more, crying out for the god Apollo. The leader of the Chorus urges him to seek out the god’s purifying touch. Orestes,... (full context)
Revenge Theme Icon
Fate, the Gods, and Piety Theme Icon
Familial Bonds Theme Icon
Violence, Death, and the Dead Theme Icon
The leader of the Chorus bids farewell to Orestes, praying that Apollo will guide and protect him. The Chorus as a whole observes that the curse of... (full context)