What are some similarities and differences among Jocasta and Clytemnestra?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think that one of the most intense similarities between both women's experience of motherhood is interrupted.  Clytemnestra sees her daughter, Iphigenia, sacrificed by her husband in order to appease the Gods.  In fear of the Oracle's prophesy, Jocasta agrees to abandon her child on a mountain.  For both women, there is an interruption of motherhood that leaves a profound impact on who they are as women and what they will become in their respective dramas.  Clytemnestra never forgives Agamemnon for what he does.  This makes life extremely difficult for both husband and wife, as she vows revenge in killing him.  Jocasta lacks this deliberation and premeditation, as she ends up marrying Oedipus, who really is her son.  In both predicaments, violence is a part of their narrative.  Clytemnestra engages in murder, while Jocasta engages in suicide.  I would think that this is one area where there is some difference.  Clytemnestra is intensely manipulative in plotting what she will do to her husband.  Jocasta is more a victim of circumstances, overwhelmed with the enormity of her own transgressions in a schematic that was not of her choice.  In both narratives, the complications and challenges of being a woman become evident.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial