Then she saw him take hold of his scepter And stick it in the hearth—His old scepter from the old days, That Aegisthus carries now. And from the scepter sprang a branch In full climbing leaf Which cast a shadow over the whole land of Mycenae.
In this quotation, Chrysothemis relates to Electra the climax of Clytemnestra's dream of the night before, in which Clytemnestra saw Agamemnon return from the dead. The images of the dream are full of symbolism; the scepter is clearly a symbol of authority, and the tree into which the scepter grows is symbolic of the return to the natural order with the return of authority to the legitimate heir. Agamemnon's rule was unnaturally cut short by his murder and the usurpation of power by Aegisthus; Aegisthus and Clytemnestra have perverted the progression of natural order by prohibiting the marriage of Agamemnon's children. The dream is clearly an omen of events soon to come; Orestes, the legitimate heir, will return, exact revenge, and reclaim power, thereby restoring the natural order. Terrified by the dream and what it might suggest, Clytemnestra has sent Chrysothemis to make an offering at Agamemnon's tomb to pacify what she fears might be his returning spirit.