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The Role of Cassandra in the Oresteia Trilogy Out of timber so crooked as that from which man is made nothing entirely straight can be carved - Immanuel Kant Crooked Timber of Humanity The character Cassandra in Aeschylus classic trilogy The Oresteia plays a small yet acutely important role in the advancement of the entire drama Cassandra appears only in the first book Agamemnon but her prophetic visions and declarations concerning the House of Atreus ring true throughout the work and provide not only plot advancement but also thematic fodder for the audience to consider Taken from the razed and pillaged city of Troy Agamemnon the king flaunts his return with his new trophy mistress Cassandra the beautiful prophet Seized from royalty and debased into a concubine the seer Cassandra is simply one more spoil of war with which Agamemnon returns Clothed in the sacred robes and regalia of the god Apollo though it is immediately apparent to the audience that she is no normal captive The first action that illustrates Cassandras importance is her initial reaction to Agamemnons wife Clytaemnestra When the queen directs her to step down from the chariot and assume her new role as slave Cassandra remains impassive As Clytaemnestra and the chorus of people tell her to do as she must - assume her yoke and go inside - still she remains motionless in her gaze with Clytaemnestra She is quickly misinterpreted in her freeze as being either proud or stupid Only once she cries out in lamentation to the god Apollo Rape of the Earth - Apollo ApolloLine 1072 is it apparent if only to the audience how much she truly knows The words Cassandra then communicates are revealing on more than one level Quite effectively she tries to elucidate to the masses the foul plot afoot Veiled behind the grief produced by both her knowledge of her own futility and by her Apollonian
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