In Agamemnon, how does Aegisthus respond to the Chorus when they call him an effeminate draft-dodger?



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When the Chorus addresses Aegisthus, calling him a "woman" who merely "skulked at home" and was not brave enough to confront his enemy himself, rather plotting his death from the safety of his own home, Aegisthus responds in anger and with a threat against the Chorus:

These words of yours likewise shall prove a source of tears. The tongue of Orpheus is quite the opposite of yours. He led all things by the rapture of his voice; but you, who have stirred our wrath by your silly yelping, shall be led off yourself. You will appear tamer when put down by force.

It is clear that the complaints of the Chorus have touched a nerve with Aegisthus, and the way that Clytemnestra, his lover, has killed Agamemnon, rather than he himself leaves himself open to the charge of effeminate weakness and a lack of bravery. This is something that of course was very hard for him to take, but the way he threatens the Chorus and promises that when he rules Argos he will rule them with an iron fist and make these voices "tamer" by his rule suggests that he will not stand any such attack on his character. Aegisthus could therefore be viewed as a character who is actually rather insecure in himself about how he is viewed and perceived, having let a woman achieve his revenge for him rather than achieving it himself.

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