Reading Classics, Chronologically Through the Ages discussion

Agamemnon (Oresteia, #1)
This topic is about Agamemnon
24 views
Plays > [Agamemnon] Hubris

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kenia (last edited Jul 15, 2016 03:18PM) (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
One of the main themes in Agamemnon is hubris.

The Chorus speaks about the dangers of high accomplishment in lines 457-462:

"the swarthy Furies stalk the man
gone rich beyond all rights--with a twist
of fortune grind him down, dissolve him
into the blurring dead--there is no help.
The reach for power can recoil,
the bolt of god can strike you at a glance."

Then, of course, there's the scene where Clytemnestra convinces Agamemnon to walk on the red tapestries. She's a strong psychological warrior, playing on his hubris by:

-convincing him that Priam would have walked on them! So why can't he?
C: "But Priam--can you see him if he had your success?"
A: "Striding on the tapestries of god, I see him now."
C: "And you fear the reproach of common men?"

-convincing him that submitting to her actually makes him powerful:
C: "O give way! The power is yours if you surrender, all of your own free will, to me!"

-telling him how amazing he is when he takes his first step but then hesitates:
C: "Our lives are based on wealth, my king,
the gods have seen to that."

As he walked on the red tapestries, I couldn't help but see them as representing the flow of Iphigenia's blood as he tramples all over it in disrespect.

Any more thoughts/observations/opinions on that scene??
Where else were there instances of hubris within the play?


message 2: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 249 comments Mod
I would love to discuss this with you, Kenia, but I've just started scoring for the World Softball Championships. I'm going from morning until night through to Jul 24th. After that I'll be back to gab away. Right now my brain is like a fried meatball. ;-)


message 3: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
Cleo, that sounds like fun!! No rush. ;) I'm excited to hear your thoughts when you're ready.


message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Perreault | 1 comments Kenia wrote: "One of the main themes in Agamemnon is hubris.

The Chorus speaks about the dangers of high accomplishment in lines 457-462:

"the swarthy Furies stalk the man
gone rich beyond all rights--with a t..."


Kenia,

I'm so glad you've started this group. I've been chipping away at the novel, autobiography, and history lists for a few years, and am excited to have some people to discuss these books with!

I think perhaps the most blatant hubris is shown right at the end of the play.

There's a whole back and forth between Aegisthus and the Leader of the Chorus, in which the Leader repeatedly insults and challenges Aegisthus for what he and Clytemnestra have conspired to do.

The scene (and the play ends) with Clytemnestra saying, "Let them howl - they're impotent. You and I have power now. We will set the house in order once for all."

In a world where Agamemnon pays dearly for the sins of his father...what are the odds that Aegisthus and Clytemnestra don't pay for their hubris? :)


message 5: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
Welcome to the group Steve!! It's so fabulous to have another voice with us. :-D

Steve wrote: "I think perhaps the most blatant hubris is shown right at the end of the play."

You're right! The very last line, and I missed it, haha. I see you also have the Robert Fagles translation, as my book reads exactly the same as what you wrote.

Steve wrote: "In a world where Agamemnon pays dearly for the sins of his father...what are the odds that Aegisthus and Clytemnestra don't pay for their hubris? :)"

Yes, of course. The never-ending curse on the House of Atreides, just goes on and on. Although I would caveat that although Agamemnon is technically paying for the sins of his father, he is still responsible for killing his own daughter and so is paying for his own grave sin as well. It kind of goes back to the philosophical argument of free will: is he really responsible if Fate has dictated that this family will be compelled to act according to the curse, or can they each still be held responsible for their actions? Personally, I subscribe to dualistic determinism.


message 6: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 240 comments Mod
While I've said before that I've given up blogging.... almost a year after buying my home and starting a new job I feel that my life has finally settled enough to give it a go again.

And so I just posted an essay on Hubris in Agamemnon: http://www.keniasedler.com/agamemnon-... :-D


back to top

187714

Reading Classics, Chronologically Through the Ages

unread topics | mark unread