Electra (Sophocles)

The ancient Greek play “Electra” by Sophocles is today regarded as a masterpiece and one of the best ancient plays ever. It is a story all about revenge: Clytemnestra and her new lover Aegisthus killed the old king Agamemnon after he returned from his conquests. They claim that the murder was just revenge, because Agamemnon had sacrificed Clytemnestra’s child years ago to please the gods. Poor princess Electra, daughter of Agamemnon, now lives a desperate life at the palace. She is held captive by Clytemnestra and Aegisthus and she spends all day long in misery.

 

Electra’s last hope is her lost brother Orestes. When he was a child, he was given away to the ruler of another palace, so that he could be raised and educated safely without Clytemnestra’s interference. But now, as a grown man, he returns in disguise to kill Clytemnestra and free his sister Electra from captivity. Will he succeed or will he get caught?

The play is a great example of Sophocles’ work. The storytelling is intense and detailed, creating suspense until the very last second. Additionally, it does not fail to provide the reader with an especially complicated and interesting moral problem that makes him think about revenge, justice and law from a completely different point of view.

That’s why this drama is recommended for everyone to read, if possible in the ancient Greek original, or at least a closely translated version.

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