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From a women's point of view, what does Cytemnestra represent?

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lifeinlove | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted November 16, 2011 at 5:51 PM via web

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From a women's point of view, what does Cytemnestra represent?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 16, 2011 at 7:28 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that Clytemnestra represents the great extent to which women were silenced in Greek society.  Interestingly enough, I think that a revisionist view of history also can view Clytemnestra as an example of how the prolonged silencing of women can prove to be counter productive to social harmony.  Clytemnestra's entire life was one of being subdued.  Agamemnon takes her by force and forced to see her first husband killed.  He continues this form of silence with the rather easy sacrifice of their daughter, Iphigenia.  In this, another level of silencing is evident.  When she takes up with a lover in her husband's absence, this relationship is conceived to benefit the political aims of Aegisthus, adding to the further marginalization of Clytemnestra.  When Clytemnestra ends up slaughtering Agamemnon to a point where she is drenched with his blood, Greek society might have seen it as the irrationality of women.  Yet, when examining it in a different light, Clytemnestra's actions represent how, at some point, the forced silencing and subjugation of a group of people cannot continue forever.  Some level of resistance is evident, and the longer the persecution, the greater in force and magnitude the dissent becomes.  Becoming literally drenched with Agamemnon's blood is a reflection of how destructive this can actually be.  This might also serve as a reminder of how intense a spouse's vengenance can be upon another.  Agamemnon might have been able to subdue the mighty armies of Troy, but he was no match for his wife and in this, a statement on the nature of personal flaw as opposed to political glory might also be evident.

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