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Electra

Sophocles

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Important Quotations Explained

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full title · Electra

author · Sophocles

type of work · Drama

genre · Tragedy

language · Greek

time and place written ·  Electra was written in or around Athens, Greece, about 410 BCE, although the exact date is unspecified

date of first publication · Around 410 BCE

publisher · Not Applicable

narrator · Not Applicable (Drama)

point of view · Not Applicable (Drama)

tense · Not Applicable (Drama)

tone · Sophocles presents the story of Electra with an openness and honesty that acknowledges the ironically "bad" sides of the "heroes" and the "good" sides of the "villains," in effect blurring the distinctions between these two categories. This lends the play a morally ambiguous tone.

setting (time) · An unspecified number of years (perhaps a decade or two) after the end of the Trojan War

setting (place) · Mycenae

protagonist · The protagonist of the drama is Electra, whose hatred for her mother and all- consuming desire for revenge bring about powerful changes in her psyche that call into question her personal justifications for revenge. She is the embodiment of a central theme of the play, namely, how revenge affects its perpetrator.

major conflict · Electra's intense desire to exact revenge from her mother for her father's death conflicts with the play's central and underlying question of whether that revenge is indeed just and warranted.

rising action · Orestes arrives unannounced at Mycenae; Clytemnestra has a dream about Agamemnon's return; the Old Man brings false news of Orestes's death; Orestes reveals himself to Electra.

climax · Orestes enters the palace, where Clytemnestra is alone; Electra waits outside for Aegisthus.

falling action · Orestes kills Clytemnestra; Aegisthus discovers her body; Orestes leads Aegisthus inside to be killed in the spot where he killed Agamemnon

themes · The opposing values of justice and expedience; The effect of revenge on its perpetrator; The degrading effects of dishonor

motifs · Entrapment; Growth; Breeding; Freedom

symbols · The tree; The scepter; The knot

foreshadowing · Clytemnestra's dream.

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