Electra (ee-LEHK-truh), daughter of the slain king, Agamemnon, and his devious wife, Clytemnestra, who spends her virginal life—her name, a variation on A-lectra, means unbedded—mourning the death of her father. Electra, witnessing her father’s murder at the hands of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, with whom Clytemnestra conspires in the killing of her husband, vows to avenge her father’s death, plotting carefully to bring Clytemnestra and Aegisthus to account, which, with the help of her brother, Orestes, she eventually succeeds in doing.
Orestes (oh-REHS-teez), Electra’s brother, son of the slain king, Agamemnon, and his adulterous wife, Clytemnestra. The god Apollo has given Orestes a mandate to avenge his father’s murder, which he sets out to do as soon as he becomes an adult. In order to gain an advantage, Orestes, Paedagogus, and Orestes’ friend, Pylades, implement the deception that Orestes has been killed in a chariot accident. Orestes, now disguised as a Phocian, returns to Mycenae, ironically bringing what are purported to be his own ashes to his mother. Electra does not recognize her brother, who eventually reveals himself to her. He and Pylades leave the stage, where Electra and the Chorus hear Clytemnestra’s death shrieks. Aegisthus arrives, relieved by his misconception that Orestes is dead. Entering a room...
(The entire section is 492 words.)