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Aeschylus Oresteia Agamemnon Why did Agamemnon die Aeschylus tragedy the Agamemnon is the opening play in the only surviving Greek trilogy the Oresteia The Agamemnon has a multifaceted plot charting the reasons for the heros legendary unexpected death on his victorious return from Troy Aeschylus manipulates the original myth in order to accentuate the dangers of giving power to a woman hence Clytemnestras murder of Agamemnon as opposed to her lover Aegisthus who is given a far more effeminate role than the original legend suggested However this new stance on the story does not suggest that the only causes of Agamemnons death were Clytemnestras desire for power and the need to dispose of her husband in favour of her new lover Instead Aeschylus gradually and ingeniously reveals to his audience both the numerous reasons for Agamemnons murder whilst showing that his death was perhaps foreseeable The short-term causes for Agamemnons death are conceivably obvious ones His vulnerability after his success at Troy left him oblivious to any danger on the home front he did not seem to anticipate any difficulty in returning after his city after ten years Both Orestes and Menelaus who may have been able to hinder the murder are absent Clytemnestra was therefore given the perfect opportunity to slaughter her unsuspecting husband as soon as he entered the house and the chorus at first unable to understand the situation because Cassandras prophesy cannot be believed because of Apollos curse were then later too frightened to intervene After the murder Clytemnestra appears to clarify her motives which the audience have previously had to speculate upon She explains that she killed because Agamemnon sacrificed his own child and having been bereaved for years he had to be sacrificed to oppose her daughters death I sacrificed this man Agamemnon also returned home with Cassandra evidence of his unfaithfulness which added insult to injury Furthermore Clytemnestra seemingly unaware of her hypocrisy no longer wants
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