How does the watchman waiting for Agamemnon feel about the state of things in the beginning of Aeschylus' Agamemnon?

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noahvox2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Aeschylus' Agamemnon, first staged in 458 BCE, is the first play of the so-called Oresteia trilogy. The play opens with a watchman sitting on the roof of the palace. He has been waiting for a signal flare for a long time and expresses his exhaustion at waiting for so long for the return of Agamemnon from Troy. Most of his comments have to do with his sleeplessness and that he is essentially being worked like a dog. He also alludes to the fact that Agamemnon's wife has been waiting anxiously for her husband to return.

Once the watchman finally sees the signal flare indicating the fall of Troy and the return of Agamemnon, the watchman rejoices and looks forward to shaking Agamemnon's hand upon his return from Troy. The watchman, however, end his prologue on an ominous note that seems to foreshadow the horrors that await Agamemnon upon his return:

Had it voice,
The home itself might soothliest tell its tale;
I, of set will, speak words the wise may learn,
To others, nought remember nor discern. (E.D.A. Morshead translation).

Read the study guide:
The Oresteia

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