Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 16, 2023
December 9, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
In discussing Clytamnestra, a highly complex character, we must separate what we learn from her story from what the Greeks would have learned. The Greeks did not hold women in high regard, and would have seen Clytamnestra's intelligence and resolve as a gross overstepping of the natural bounds of female existence. Or, at least, this is the impression that we get from the chorus, which is as close a representative of Greek ideals as we can obtain. Modern readers, on the other hand, are inclined to see Clytamnestra in a far more positive light, as a good mother and fierce fighter for what she believes is right. In actuality, she combines these two conceptions into a fascinating hybrid portrait.
From one point of view, Clytamnestra is the anti-ideal of a woman and mother. Electra prays towards the beginning of the play that she will never grow up to be like her mother, and Orestes says that he would never live with one such as her, and that he would rather die childless than do so. By killing Agamemnon when he is naked and vulnerable in his bath, Clytamnestra violates the sanctity of the home. She abuses her intimate access to Agamemnon, killing him when he least expects it. The chorus is horrified at the idea that after ten years of fighting on the battlefield for Greece, Agamemnon comes home not to a peaceful home and loving wife, but to a bloody death. According to them, this is tragically unfair. Clytamnestra must suffer for her perversion of the female role in society, and Orestes is elected as the agent of her just punishment.
However, Aeschylus's Clytamnestra is a far more complex and compelling character than the chorus can see. Clytamnestra in fact has been a very good mother, as she avenged her daughter's murder and sent Orestes away for his own protection. She has also passed on her traits of intelligence, moral fiber and fierce resolution on to her son. Sadly, these same traits necessarily lead to her own downfall, as Orestes will hold her accountable for her crimes. She is a cunning and powerful viper whose son has also grown up to be a viper, and who does not hesitate to bite the breast that fed him.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Libation Bearers!