full title Electra
type of work Drama
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.