41 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 458

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Lines 264-781

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Lines 264-488 Summary: First Episode and First Stasimon

The first episode begins with Clytemnestra entering from the palace. She announces to the stunned chorus that Agamemnon and the Greeks took Troy. When the chorus asks for evidence, she explains that the news reached her through beacon fires, tracing their progress from Troy to several sites across the Aegean Sea before they finally reached Argos. Clytemnestra imagines the Greeks’ inflicting death and destruction on the people of Troy as they despoil the city. She hopes that, even now, the Greeks remember not to succumb to excess in their destruction, lest the gods punish them. The chorus praises Clytemnestra’s words, saying that she spoke “like a prudent man” (351). They say that they must give thanks to the gods.

Clytemnestra exits, and the chorus sings the first stasimon, or choral ode. It addresses Zeus, who demonstrated his justice by punishing those whom the laws established. Wealth, the chorus points out, often leads to corruption and sin. Paris, having transgressed against his host, Menelaus, was justly punished by the gods. Helen, who abandoned her husband and brought grief to Greece, was recaptured. This is unfortunate only in that many young Greek soldiers needed to die in the process; the chorus mourns their deaths.