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Greek mythology is not kind to its heroines

Clytemnestra is the central character in Aeschylus’s tragedy, The Oresteian Trilogy. Her story marks the transition from an ancient, matriarchal religion and power structure into the patriarchal society that has dominated the western world since.

Clytemnestra became (among other things) the unhappy wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. He wed her against her wishes after killing her first husband and then sacrificed her daughter before heading off to Troy. So, perhaps with some justification, she revenged her daughter’s death by killing him on his return. She then went on to become a strong, rebellious, outspoken, controversial leader. She was eventually murdered by her own son. But, while her revenge was condemned, her son’s was not. Such is the double standard of Greek tragedies.

Clytemnestra, 2020, Egg Tempera, 16cm x 30cm x 3.5cm (Alter) Available


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