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The Tangled Ways of ZeusAnd Other Studies In and Around Greek Tragedy$
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Alan H. Sommerstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568314

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568314.001.0001

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Oresteia Act II: two misconceptions

Oresteia Act II: two misconceptions

(p.189) 12 Oresteia Act II: two misconceptions
The Tangled Ways of Zeus

Alan H. Sommerstein (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws attention to two misconceptions about Aeschylus' Choephoroi. It points out, firstly, that Electra is recommended to pray (110–21), and then does pray (130–44), for the return of Orestes and the coming of someone who will avenge Agamemnon's murder, as if these were two entirely separate things; not till she and we hear of Apollo's oracle (269–96) does she learn that Orestes himself must be the avenger. Secondly, Apollo's oracle as at first reported contains no promise of protection, only commands and threats; the first mention of a promise comes only at lines 1032–3, and until then the audience cannot be sure that Apollo will not let the endless cycle of revenge continue indefinitely.

Keywords:   revenge, Choephoroi, Orestes, Electra, Apollo, oracle, avenger, protection

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