Medea and Electra First Episode: Electra, Orestes and Farmer Questions and Answers

Euripides

First Episode: Electra, Orestes and Farmer Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Orestes present himself to Electra?

2. When Orestes asks what he should do “if” he comes home, what does Electra respond?

3. Why does Electra not recognize her brother?

4. Who is the only man whom Electra claims would recognize him?

5. What does Electra claim she would do to “let blood from her mother’s throat?”

6. Why does Electra envy her mother’s slaves?

7. What is Electra’s accusation against Agamemnon, besides the fact that he participated in her father’s murder?

8. What is the Farmer’s response to meeting the two travelers?

9. After he has met the Farmer and learned of his gentle decency, what does Orestes concludes matters more than appearance?

10. To which Greek hero of the Trojan War does the Chorus sing an ode to at the end of this episode?

Answers
1. Orestes claims he is a friend of “himself,” come to bring the news that he is still alive, though drifting from place to place.

2. Electra claims he must act against his father’s killers, both of them, and with the same axe they used on him.

3. The pair were separated when they were young.

4. Electra says the only man who could recognize Orestes is the old tutor who helped to raise her father—the same man she sends the Farmer off to bring back with food and drink.

5. Electra claims she would die to do this.

6. She says they wear clothes of fine wool, fastened by gold, while she has to wear rags.

7. She claims he’s taken advantage of her father’s position, and left his grave unattended, except to desecrate it with drunken oaths and mockery against Orestes.

8. At first he is suspicious, claiming it is not seemly for young women to be seen in the company of men. When he learns they are friends of Orestes, however, he welcomes them into his house.

9. Orestes says that only character and courage matter, not the mere appearance of them.

10. They sing the praises of Achilles.