Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Outline of Aeschylus'
Oresteia
 
Agamemnon
Lines Events
1-263 Watchman sees Agamemnon's fleet approaching. The Chorus enters and provides background information on the situation.
264-319 Clytemnestra explains to the Chorus that the Greeks have sacked Troy.
320-502 The Chorus summarizes the causes of the Trojan War, especially in relation to "Guest-Friendship."
503-585 A herald proclaims Agamemnon's victory over Troy.
586-612 Clytemnestra discusses plans for Agamemnon's glorious return.
613-680 The herald and the Chorus talk about a storm that sank many Greek ships.
681-781 Long choral monologue on Helen and the downfall of Troy.
782-854 Agamemnon enters. The Chorus hints that Agamemnon has domestic issues to address.
855-913 Clytemnestra explains that Orestes is elsewhere. She then invites Agamemnon to walk on a purple cloth.
914-974 Agamemnon debates whether he should walk on the carpet. Eventually, "on his own will," he does.
975-1068 Clytemnestra addresses Cassandra and tells her (in no uncertain terms) to enter the palace.
1069-1201 Cassandra tells the Chorus of the events to follow. The Chorus (of course) refuses to believe her.
1202-1245 Cassandra explains why no one believes her prophecies.
1246-1330 Cassandra details the events leading to Agamemnon's death, and then her own.
1331-1371 Offstage, Clytemnestra kills Agamemnon and Cassandra; the frantic and terrified Chorus listens helplessly.
1372-1446 Clytemnestra explains why she murdered Agamemnon: He sacrificed Iphegenia, their daughter, for favorable sailing conditions.
1447-1575 Using various other, analogous myths as "precedents," the Chous and Clytemnestra debate whether her actions are justifiable.
1576-1611 Aegisthus explains the curse on Atreus' house.
1612-1674 Aegisthus and Clytemnestra reveal their plans to the chorus.
 
Libation Bearers
This play is NOT assigned for class readings --
BUT since it is the middle part of the trilogy,
a working knowledge of the basic plot will be most helpful
Lines Events
1-105 Orestes, Electra, and Chorus individually lament Agamemnon's murder.
106-211 Exchange between Electra and Chorus. Electra learns that Orestes has returned.
212-264 Orestes reveals himself; Electra eventually recognizes him.
265-371 Orestes, Electra and Chorus lament the unheroic nature of Agamemnon's death.
372-460 Orestes and Electra decide the proper recourse is to kill Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
461-509 Orestes and Electra pray to Agamemnon's shade and various gods for permission to carry out the murders.
510-584 Orestes develops his plan of attack. Clytemnestra's dream shows his plan will succeed.
585-651 The Chorus discusses some analogous myths.
652-718 Dressed as foreigners, Orestes and Pylades talk with Clytemnestra. Orestes, claiming to be a messenger, says he is dead.
719-782 Clissa and the Chorus talk. Clytemnestra and her clan have fallen for Orestes' plan.
783-837 The Chorus pleads with Zeus.
838-884 Aegisthus briefly talks with the Chorus. As soon as he moves off-stage, Orestes and Pylades kill him.
885-930 Orestes and Clytemnestra: Clytemnestra argues Orestes has no ground on which to kill her; Orestes and Pylades see it differently and drag her inside.
931-971 Choral monologue. Meanwhile, Orestes kills Clytemnestra off-stage.
972-1043 Orestes reiterates his justification for killing Clytemnestra and Aegisthus.
1044-1076 The Eumenides attack Orestes.
 
Eumenides
Lines Events
1-63 The Pythia describes the Eumenides (Chorus) attacking Orestes.
64-93 Apollo reveals how Orestes will be acquitted.
94-178 Clytemnestra's shade stirs the Eumenides to further attack Orestes.
179-234 The Eumenides and Apollo debate the cosmic "legality" of the Eumenides' attacks on Orestes.
235-396 Extended monlogue by the Eumenides concerning their genealogy.
397-442 Conversation between Athena and the Eumenides. The Eumenides agree they would free Orestes if he were proven innocent.
443-489 Eumenides state their justification for attacking Orestes to Athena. Athena decides to gather a jury of Athenian citizens.
490-565 Another monologue by the Eumenides on their functions and duties.
566-613 Athena sets up the trial, and Apollo vows to defend Orestes. The Eumenides begin their "cross-examination" of Orestes.
614-673 Apollo testifies on Orestes' behalf and demonstrates his innocence.
674-710 Athena asks the Athenian jurors to vote. She also sets up Athens as the world's center of justice.
711-777 The jury splits 50/50, but Athena casts her vote for Orestes, and thus he is acquitted.
778-847 The Eumenides, dishonored by the decision, threathen to take their anger out on Athens.
848-1031 As compensation, Athena offers the Eumenides special privileges and honors from Athens.
1032-1047 Athenian citizens hold a procession honoring the Eumenides.
Timeline of Relevant Events
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