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Posts Tagged ‘Clytemnestra’

OEDIPUS REX

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The Shinx presenting her riddle to Oedipus. Attic Red Figure. 450 - 440 BC.

The Sphinx presenting her riddle to Oedipus. Attic Red Figure. 450 – 440 BC.

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🔆♣“The Theban Plays”🔆:

In my previous post, I introduced some of the most important characteristics of Tragedy, as highlighted by Aristotle in his book “Poetics”. In brief, I mentioned the main characteristics, aims and structure of tragedy.

Furthermore, I made reference to the most famous ancient greek playwrights of the genre Tragedy: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides

Sophocles 497/ 406 BC was the author of “Oedipus Rex, the tragedy we´ll analyse in this post. He wrote 120 plays during the course of his life, but only seven have survived in a complete form. Among them we should mention the so-called Theban plays.

The Theban plays consist of three plays: “Oedipus Rex” (“Oedipus the King”, also called “Oedipus Tyrannus”), “Oedipus at Colonus” and “Antigone”

These plays, which were presented as a trilogy, took second prize in the City Dionysia at its original performance. Aeschyluss nephew Philocles took first prize at that competition.

The three plays concern the fate of the city of Thebes during and after the reign of King Oedipus.

Each of the plays relates to the tale of the mythological Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother without knowledge that they were his parents. Oedipus´ family is fated to be doomed for three generations.

The Theban Plays by Sophocles.

The Theban Plays by Sophocles.

The  Trilogy was written across thirty-six years of Sophocles’ career and the plays were not composed in chronological order, but instead were written in the order “Antigone”, “Oedipus the King” and “Oedipus at Colonus”.

The logical and  chronological order would be:

• “Oedipus Rex” narrates the vicissitudes of King Oedipus, who unknowingly married his mother, Jocasta, and killed his father, Laius.

• In “Oedipus at Colonus”, the banished Oedipus and his daughter Antigone arrive at the town of Colonus where they encounter Theseus, King of Athens. Oedipus dies and strife begins between his sons Polyneices and Eteocles.

• In “Antigone”, the protagonist is Oedipus’ daughter, Antigone. She is faced with the choice of allowing her brother Polyneices‘ body to remain unburied, outside the city walls, exposed to the ravages of wild animals, or to bury him and face death. The king of the land, Creon, has forbidden the burial of Polyneices for he was a traitor to the city. Antigone decides to bury his body and face the consequences of her actions. Creon sentences her to death. Eventually, Creon is convinced to free Antigone from her punishment, but his decision comes too late and Antigone commits suicide. Her suicide triggers the suicide of two others close to King Creon: his son, Haemon, who was to wed Antigone, and his Creon´s wife, Queen Eurydice, who commits suicide after losing her only surviving son. 

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Sophocles ca. 496 – 406 BC

Sophocles ca. 496 – 406 BC

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🔆I. ♣“Oedipus Rex”. Background🔆:

Many elements of  “Oedipus Rex” (which was first performed in 430 BC)take place before the opening scene of the play.

Let´s consider which they are…

Laius (Oedipus´father) was the tutor of Chrysippus, youngest of the King Pelops of Elis´son. He abducted and raped Chrysippus, who killed himself in shame.

This murder cast a doom over Laius and all of his other descendants.

King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes had a son.

Having Laius learned from an oracle that “he was doomed to perish by the hand of his own son”, he ordered Jocasta to kill the child. Jocasta couldn´t do that by herself so she asked a servant to commit the act. The servant took the child and gave him to a shepherd, who named him Oedipus (or “swollen feet”). He carried the baby with him to Corinth and raised him.

As a young man in Corinth, Oedipus heard a rumour that he was not the biological son of Polybus and his wife Merope.

He asked the Delphic Oracle who his parents really were. The Oracle ignored this question, cryptically telling him instead that he was destined to “Mate with his own mother, and shed/With his own hands the blood of his own sire”. Desperate to avoid this, Oedipus left Corinth in the belief that Polybus and Merope were indeed his true parents and that, once away from them, he would never harm them.

On the road to Thebes, he met Laius, his true father, with several other men. Unaware of each other’s identities, Laius and Oedipus quarrelled over whose chariot has right-of-way. As a result, Oedipus killed Laius, hence fulfilling part of the oracle’s prophecy.

Continuing on his way, Oedipus found Thebes plagued by the Sphinx, who put a riddle to all passersby and destroyed those who could not answer.

The riddle of the sphinx was “What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?”

Oedipus gave the proper answer: man, who crawls on all fours in infancy, walks on two feet when grown, and leans on a staff in old age.

Thus, Oedipus solved the riddle, and the Sphinx killed herself. And, in reward, he received the throne of Thebes and the hand of the widowed queen, his mother, Jocasta.

Oedipus and Jocasta had four children: Eteocles, Polyneices, Antigone, and Ismene.

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🔆II. ♣“Oedipus Rex”. Summary🔆:

The entire action of the play is set in the city of Thebes, which is in the grip of a deadly plague.

Oedipus has already sent his brother-in-law, Creon, to the Oracle of Delphi in order to ask the Oracle why this is the case. According to the Oracle, Apollo regards religious or moral pollution (miasma) resulting from the murder of the former king, Laius, to be the cause of the plague and that the cause of it (i.e. Laius’ murderer) must be killed or expelled from Theban territory.

Laius was the ruler of Thebes before  Oedipus and was supposedly killed during a journey by a group of robbers.

Oedipus firmly resolves to find the murderer and prosecute him. This causes Oedipus to put a curse on Laius’s murderer and to call the blind prophet, Tiresias, for advice.

But the meeting with Tiresias doesn´t turn out well. Tiresias refuses to reveal anything to Oedipus. He prefers to keep silent as he does not want to be the cause of Oedipus’ ruin. Oedipus, on the other hand, interprets Tiresias’ silence as treachery. He labels him a villain and a conspirator along with Creon.

Tiresias leaves, warning that Oedipus will cause his own ruin. Later in the play, Tiresias tragically reveals to Oedipus that the king himself is the cause, since he had killed King Laius.

Oedipus doesn’t believe him — since he did not know who Laius was when he killed him — and sends him away.

When Jocasta tells Oedipus the story of Laius’s murder, her mention of the specific location at which he was killed makes Oedipus suspicious that he might have been the killer.

As the investigations into Laius’ murder proceed, the fact that a sole witness is alive comes to light. Oedipus sends for this man, who is an old shepherd.

But, such an awry coincidence, he sole witness of Laius’ murder is also the man who had handed over the infant Oedipus to the Corinthian shepherd. This man holds the key to the mystery of Oedipus’ birth. Oedipus persuades him to speak up and so he does.

Finally the Theban shepherd reveals his version. And the truth comes to light: that Oedipus is the son of Laius and Jocasta, not Polybus and Merope. This moment is the Climax, meaning the most tension in the tragedy.

After the climax comes the Falling action. Jocasta commits suicide by hanging herself and Oedipus, unable to see his wretched existence, blinds himself. Oedipus’ curse falls on himself, and he wishes to leave Thebes. 

Oedipus briefly speaks with his daughters, lamenting their fates as a result of his own. Finally, Oedipus goes into exile, accompanied by Antigone and Ismene, leaving his brother-in-law Creon as regent. With that, the plague ends.

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The Murder of Laius by Oedipus by Paul Joseph Blanc. 1867.

The Murder of Laius by Oedipus by Paul Joseph Blanc. 1867.

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🔆III. ♣“Oedipus Rex”. Structure🔆:

According to Aristotle in his book “Poetics”, the narrative structure or plot (Mythos) consists of three parts: Protasis, Epitasis and Catastrophe.

• The Protasis is the beginning of the tragedy. 

• The Epitasis is the middle or climax of the plot, which are caused by earlier incidents and itself cause the incidents that follow it. 

• The Catastrophe is the resolution or end of the plot. 

Check out further details concerning the narrative structure in “Oedipus Rex” by clicking on the images below.

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🔆IV. ♣“Oedipus Rex”. Analysis🔆

Hamartia, Anagnorisis, Peripetia and Catharsis:

In a tipical Tragedy, the protagonist should be renowned and prosperous, so his change of fortune can be from good to bad.

This change should come about as the result, not of vice, but of some great error or frailty in a character. Such a plot is most likely to generate pity and fear in the audience. It will evoke pity and fear in its viewers, causing the viewers to experience a feeling of Catharsis, (“purgation” or “purification”).

Catharsis is linked to pity, which is “aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear by the misfortune of a man like ourselves”. That undeserved luck is most times linked to the word Hamartia, often translated as “tragic flaw”.

Oedipus suffers because of his Hamartia. Oedipus’ mistake – killing his father at the crossroads – is made unknowingly. Indeed, for him, there is no way of escaping his fate.

In “Poetics”, Aristotle outlined the characteristics of an ideal Tragic Hero. He must be “better than we are,” a man who is superior to the average man in some way.

In Oedipus’s case, he is superior not only because of social standing, but also because he is smart: he is the only person who could solve the Sphinx’s riddle.

Oedipus earns royal respect at Thebes when he solves the riddle of the Sphinx. As a gift for freeing the city, Creon gives Oedipus dominion over the city.

Thus, Oedipus’ nobility derives from many and diverse sources, and the audience develops a great respect and emotional attachment to him.

In general terms, we can say that the role of the Hamartia (Tragic Flaw) in tragedy comes not from its moral status but from the inevitability of its consequences.

According to Aristotle, the protagonist will mistakenly bring about his own downfall—not because he is sinful or morally weak, but because he does not know enough. Oedipus fits this precisely, for his basic flaw is his lack of knowledge about his own identity.

The Anagnorisisor the recognition point, happens when Oedipus realizes the truth about his parentage, as a shepherd reveals the fact that Oedipus was the son of Laius and Jocasta.

At this stage, the protagonist realizes the truth of a situation, discovers another character’s identity or learns an unknown fact about his own self. Oedipus is far from perfect. He has been blind to the truth and stubbornly refuses to believe Tiresias‘ warnings. And, although he is a good father, he unwittingly fathered children in incest.(With his own mother, Jocasta).  

What follows anagnorisis is known as Peripetia (Reversal), where the opposite of what was planned or expected by the protagonist, occurs.

The Peripetia entrains a crucial action from/on the protagonis that changes the situation, from seemingly secure to vulnerable. This leads to results diametrically opposed to those that were intended.

Hence, this unavoidable downfall of the protagonist of a tragedy is usually caused by the character’s “tragic flaw”. 

The ultimate cause of Oedipusdownfall is his unwillingness to accept his fate. He cannot accept the predictions about his life (that he will murder his father and sleep with his mother) and he fights against them. This rejection could be seen as evidence of his great pride. 

Additionally, Oedipus invites information, however damaging it might be, saying that he can handle any truth that comes his way. 

Oedipus was raised by his adoptive parents, Polybus and Merope, the king and queen of Corinth, after his biological parents, Laius and Jocasta, the king and queen of Thebes, sent him away to be killed to avoid a prophecy that Laius received which stated that his son would kill him and then marry his wife. 

Oedipus grew up, never knowing that his adoptive parents weren’t his biological parents until, one day, a drunk man told him about it.  He needed to know more so he went to the oracle to find out, but the oracle wouldn’t answer his questions. Instead, the Oracle said that he would one day kill his father and marry his mother. 

Thinking, then, that he would kill Polybus and marry Merope, Oedipus resolved never to return to Corinth and to go to Thebes instead.  He met a man on the road, got into an altercation with him, and killed him; this man turned out to be his biological father, Laius.  When Oedipus  to Thebes, after answering the sphinx’s riddle and freeing the city from her reign of terror, the Thebans were so happy with him and in need of a king, they made him king and he married the old king’s wife, his mother, Jocasta.  

In this way,  the most obvious irony in the play is that Oedipus‘s attempt to avoid fulfilling a terrible prophecy is actually what enables it to come true.

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Blind Oedipus bids farewell to the body of his wife and son by Edouard Toudouze. 1871.

Blind Oedipus bids farewell to the body of his wife and son by Edouard Toudouze. 1871.

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🔆V. ♣“Oedipus Rex”. Incest and Patricide🔆

Among all the permissiveness of ancient Greek culture, including homosexual relationships between old men and young boys,  and the open taking of numerous courtesans by married men, incest remains a reprehensible offense. Throughout Greek literature, Incest, alongside patricide/matricide also seem to be an equally odious crime. 

In the second part of Aeschylus´ trilogy “Oresteia”,  Clytemnestra is murdered by her son Orestes. (Matricide).

In the  third and last play, “The Eumenides”, Orestes is judged because of his crime whilst being besieged and tormented by the Eryniesgoddesses of vengeance and often depicted  as ugly, winged women with hair, arms and waists entwined with serpents. Furthermore, the wrath of the Erinyes manifested itself in a number of ways and the most severe of these was the tormenting madness inflicted upon a patricide or matricide.

The theories presented in Freud’s “Totem and Taboo” help to explain Incest in “Oedipus Rex”.

Freud holds that all human males innately harbor not a natural aversion to incest, but the opposite: an instinctive sexual attraction to the mother (Oedipus Complex).

He says“The experiences of psychoanalysis have taught . . . that the first sexual impulses of the young are regularly of an incestuous nature” (“Totem and Taboo”, p. 160).

He also asserts that each male harbors ambivalent feelings towards his father. On one hand, he loves, looks up to, and respects his father. On the other, with the awakening of sexual feelings which initially naturally fix themselves towards the mother, he comes to hate his father as a rival and oppressor.

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“Oedipus and the Erynies or Furies” by Jakob Asmus (18th century).

“Oedipus and the Erynies or Furies” by Jakob Asmus (18th century).

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🔆➰🔆►Read “Oedipus Rex”, by Sophocles here.

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 guarda_griega1_5Erin Sandlin 1guarda_griega1_5

🔆V. ♣“Oedipus Rex”🔆

🔆Oedipus and Sophocles: Anthropology, Psychology, and the Role of Women in Context🔆

∼By ©Erin Sandlin∼

When Sophocles wrote the three plays that comprise the Oedipus series, his goals and messages would have been shaped both by his culture and his milieu. As an anthropologist, I tend to interpret the truism that art imitates life with a greater breadth and depth than most might. In the essay that follows, I’ll touch upon issues of cultural messaging, the modern (and to my mind, inaptly characterized) Oedipal Complex, and the role of women as reinforced such as that reinforced by the plays in question.  

•Cultural Messaging: 

Given that my knowledge of Ancient Greek literature and art are not at a level consistent with scholarly discourse, I’ll largely speak in general terms, with an anthropological scope. Cultural messaging—or the formation and transmission of symbols, ideologies, material culture, aesthetics, and other domains—is taken as a constant feature of stratified human societies throughout time and space. It’s also a two-way street.  

While established cultural themes and values shape and are received by individuals, those individuals in turn act to shape the continuously evolving features of cultural sensibilities that are characteristic of a general culture or culture group. This is, perhaps, more true of those responsible for creation of art and literature than of individuals who simply consume symbols or rely on established formulations for their livelihoods. Art imitates life, because it is this realism that makes art consumable.  

While a play or a sculpture, a painting or architecture, dance, music or written works can all serve as platforms for specific cultural messages, they must not depart too severely from what is accepted as normal by the audience.  Sophocles’ works tread this line in the social sand with finesse, using established cultural forms while delivering a message or suite of messages.  In the Oedipus plays, he regaled his audience with drama that was instantly recognizable by any class, although what his intended messages were, I won’t speculate.  They were, however, shaped on an intimate level by the world he knew.  

•“Oedipus Rex” and Cultural Taboo: 

Ancient Greece was by no means a unified, national entity. Rather, it was a loose collection of city-states with many common cultural features that permitted unification against a common enemy, even while they fueled internecine conflict. However, features shared by these warring sibling communities were often expressed in philosophy, rhetoric, and the general code of ethics required by any individual to be respected within their community. In addition to food and dress, music and theatre, the pursuits of the mind were a binding force of what we call Ancient Greece.

Oedipus plays to the needs of the tragedy by committing two of the greatest taboo actions commonly acknowledged in the diverse and innately political realm of Ancient Greece. These actions are apparently forbidden to humans who hope to dwell in polite society, but are accorded a pass when it comes to the gods. Patricide seems to be one of the worst, and speaks to the value placed upon fatherhood and father figures within the culture. That matricide is slightly more excusable and often used as a plot device tells me that perhaps women intended for marriages of status held less value as humans and more as vessels or possessions. Unattached women who did not aspire to marriage or status via a husband held their own place in that world.  

Incest is considered taboo by a number of cultures, although its precise relational definition is subject to change. This is largely a function of the fact that genetics is a comparatively new field of science. Incest is socially defined, even now, and how we interpret what is or is not incestuous is likely to differ from culture to culture. That being said, while we may still react with revulsion at the thought of a child and genetic parent or two siblings who share parents in common interacting sexually, there is more risk of genetic mutations occurring in the offspring of two first-cousins. This is because they share at least two closely related sets of genetic material. The evidence for this can be observed in the noble family trees of many European Great Houses.  

Perhaps the only reprieve Sophocles granted to Oedipus is that he did not have him eat another human being (Cannibalism). While the gods may debauch themselves with sibling deities, murder their fathers, and consume their own children (only to regurgitate them at a later time,) these activities are prohibited among human beings who worship them. While there’s an entire academic paper on the ways in which a culture reserves its most horrifying behaviors to its ascribed gods or goddesses in that statement, we won’t go into that, here.  

What can be said is that artistic media serve as a way for us to explore these taboos without fear of repercussion to ourselves. This method of cultural messaging serves to reinforce cultural bonds via shared value systems, as a means of exploring experiences without risk, and as a way to either shift or solidify cultural symbols, ideas, and forms. Other themes explored by Sophocles are: justice, inflexible pursuit of goals, the imperfect grasp of reality as it pertains to unknown details, honor, and social consequences that obtain when the order is challenged.  

•At the Crossroads of Tragedy and Cultural Themes:  

We might think it was rather poor form for Oedipus to murder Laius on the side of the road. But this says more about our own cultural themes than it does those of Sophocles. In anthropology, we are constantly made to confront our own culture and its embedded sensibilities.This, for better or worse, is known as cultural relativism, but should not be confused the permissive acceptance of human rights violations.    

At the same time, it’s important that we acknowledge that different cultures will apply a specific moral weight to various scenarios and actions. Rash and ill advised as Oedipus’ actions may have been, Laius was a stranger who offered insult. He was an unnamed person, and Oedipus was offered a set number of ways in which he could respond, based upon the culture of Sophocles.  

We, as the audience, might count the beginning of this tragedy with the actions of Laius and Jocasta. However, Oedipus’ personal journey begins when he leaves the two individuals he believes to be his parents in order to spare them the fate spoken by the oracle. Dr. Joseph Campbell, who so eloquently explored the Monomyth and the hero’s role within it, called this the beginning of the Hero Quest.  

Oedipus breaks with all that is familiar in the effort to preserve the lives of those he loves. But he’s also serving another cultural maxim.If he fulfills the oracle’s pronouncements, he will have broken two grave strictures of his culture.  In his own estimation, he will not be worthy of the fruits of society, honor, or noble birth. This sense of justice causes him to leave, and later in the story will cause him to pursue his own doom as he searches for the killer of King Laius.  

•Incest and Feminine Agency: 

The sexual lust shared by Oedipus and Jocasta receives, in my opinion, a disproportionate amount of attention. We aren’t alone in frowning on incest. But while that distaste may have relatively rational roots, within the narrative of the tragedy, incest doesn’t immediately apply to the actions of these characters.   

Oedipus is unknown to Jocasta, who believes her infant son perished from exposure.  Oedipus believes his mother to be miles away, safe from his roving eye. As self-realized individuals, there’s nothing untoward about their liaison. When I read the play, I immediately thought of another factor that may not have come to the attention of those with other educational backgrounds.  

Even though Jocasta gave birth to Oedipus, he was taken from her as an infant and sentenced to death by her husband. Oedipus grew to maturity seeing another woman as his mother, and was never told he was a foundling.  There is no bond of experience between them to dissuade them from coupling.  

The Westermarck Effect is a theory that surmises that this close familiarity between closely related individuals in which one is younger will preclude sexual attraction.  

Even if biology had been against them, a field of which Sophocles knew nothing, Jocasta was a woman in an Ancient Greek society—a married, widowed woman of status. Oddly enough, this made her one of the most powerless individuals, with the exclusion of actual slaves. Whether she felt attraction to Oedipus or not was immaterial. Even if Sophocles had been a feminist long before his time, Greek Society was openly hostile to the agency of women. Pheromones distasteful to Jocasta would not have stopped Oedipus from declaring his conquest of the realm and of her body in the same breath.  She, and all women like her, were only as good as the men who ruled them decided they should be. And yet, a disproportionate amount of censure has been aimed at her.  

•Complex Complexes and Misnomers: 

Modern psychology has made us all familiar with Oedipus for one reason, and a very bad reason at that. Even if you’ve never read Sophocles, you know all about the young son who wants to tumble his mother. The Oedipal Complex stems from a poor grasp of the actual intricacies of the play by a Victorian Viennese psychotherapist named Sigmund Freud. It describes a phase in human psychosexual development in which young male children of three to five year old lust after their mothers and regard their fathers as rivals for her attention.  

But, barring a superficial resemblance to the plays by Sophocles, this is a terrible name for the complex. Oedipus doesn’t know Laius as his father or Jocasta his mother. He does not identify them as his parents at all. To append his name to a person who desires their acknowledged mother and feels aggression towards their acknowledged father is, to say the least, incorrect.  

While some excuse can be made for Freud—who lived in a distressingly ignorant, misogynistic, and simultaneously sexually repressed and depraved milieu (not unlike Ancient Greece in some regard,) and was a product of an educational system that idolized all things related to the ancient culture—there’s really no excuse for anyone who uses it in earnest these days. In the first place, quite a few of his theories have been outright disproven, shredded for the mass of hilarious misconceptions they were, or are discounted by more advanced understandings in the fields of neuropsychology, developmental psychology, and behavioral psychology. Moreover, it’s bandied about by popular culture as if adults could suddenly develop this complex, which isn’t what it originally described, anyway.  

If we are to give either Sophocles or Joseph Campbell their due, it would behoove us to recognize the deep mastery of the work by Sophocles.

Oedipus, in spite of his window dressing from a culture with very different ideas about morality, is still a vital and believable hero to current audiences. He does things that are motivated by the best of intentions, but he ultimately functions as the architect of his own suffering. He, as an extension of the keen brilliance of Sophocles, advertises the morality and the cultural ideals of a civilization slowly relenting to the sunlight of decay. 

In a way, Oedipus is a member of an elite club—the Hero Room—in which live all the big characters who dreamed magnificently, but ultimately failed. They sought to set their names in the bricks of every city, to be remembered, to uphold justice and avert tragedy, to earn glory or challenge the will of deities.  

At the same time, they are terribly human in a way that does not fade when the cultural winds shift.  Their quests are relatable, even if some of their actions become absurd or obscure in their rationale. Their imperfections help us to bring them close and identify with them.

At bottom, they remind us that, while we have myriad ways of living in the world, we are all human. All mortal. All subject to factors beyond our knowledge or control.  

∼Essay By ©Erin Sandlin∼ May, 2016.-

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Oedipus and Antigone by Johann Peter Krafft. 1809.

Oedipus and Antigone by Johann Peter Krafft. 1809.

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►About Erin Sandlin:

Erin Sandlin is a writer of both scholarly and lyric essays, poetry, and short fiction.  She possesses advanced degrees in both anthropology and history. Born and raised in the Deep South of the United States, oral traditions, language, and systems of cultural memory continue to fascinate her. Her research interests also include the politics of gender, restriction of social space, and diets within stratified societies.  

•She loves to connect with new people, and welcomes you to visit her author page on Facebook.

•Erin maintains a blog on WordPress, “Being Southern Somewhere Else”.  

•You can find her books for sale on Amazon

•You can also  follow Erin on Twitter

~ ~Thanks so much for being here as a guest author/ writer, dear Erin~ ~

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Erin Sandlin.

Erin Sandlin.

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Links Post:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_the_King
http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/topic/oedipus-rex
http://www.columbia.edu/itc/lithum/gallo/freud.html
http://www.sparknotes.com/drama/oedipus/section5.rhtml
http://www.storyboardthat.com/teacher-guide/oedipus-rex-by-sophocles
http://thebestnotes.com/booknotes/Oedipus_The_King/Oedipus_Rex04.html
http://www.gradesaver.com/oedipus-rex-or-oedipus-the-king/study-guide/oedipus-and-aristotle
http://www.thegreatbookschallenge.com/sophocles-antigone-oedipus-the-king-oedipus-at-colonus/

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"Helene glorifee" by Gustave Moreau (1897).

“Hélène glorifiée” by Gustave Moreau (1897).

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Helen of Troy, also known as Helen of Sparta, was the daughter of Zeus and Leda and sister of Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux.

Pollux shared a father with Helen (Zeus), whilst Castor’s and Clytemnestra’s father was he king of Sparta, Tyndareus.

In Greek myths, Helen was considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

By marriage she was Queen of Laconia, a province within Homeric Greece, the wife of King Menelaus, who was Agamemnon‘s brother.

When it was time for Helen to marry, many princes came to seek her hand.

During the contest, Castor and Pollux had a prominent role in dealing with the suitors, although the final decision was in the hands of King Tyndareus, Helen’s father.

Menelaus, her future husband, did not attend but sent his brother, Agamemnon on his behalf.

Before this, when Helen was a young girl she was kidnapped by Theseus

In most accounts of this event, this happened when Helen was seven years old.

It is said that two athenians, Theseus and Pirithous, thought that since they were both sons of gods, both of them should have divine wives; they thus pledged to help each other abduct two daughters of Zeus.

Thus Theseus chose Helen, and Pirithous vowed to marry Persephone, the wife of Hades.

Hades pretended to offer them hospitality and set a feast, but, as soon as the pair sat down, snakes coiled around their feet and held them there. Helen’s abduction caused an invasion of Athens by Castor and Pollux, who captured Aethra (Theseus’ mother) in revenge, and returned their sister to Sparta.

After the Judgement of Prince Paris, she was presumably abducted by him and this led to the Trojan War

That is why Helen is also known as the face that launched a thousand ships.

Helen is sometimes depicted as being abducted and even raped by Paris.

However, Sappho argues that Helen willingly left behind Menelaus to be with Paris.

Homer depicts her as a wistful, even a sorrowful, figure, coming to regret her choice and wishing to be reunited with Menelaus.

Paris was killed during the Trojan War, and according to Homer’s “Iliad”, Helen was reunited with Menelaus, though other versions of the legend recount her ascending to Olympus instead, or even getting re-married with Priam’s surviving son Deiphobus, who she will betrayed hiding his sword, immediatly after the sack of Troy had begun.

During the fall of Troy, Homer says that after the Trojan Horse was admitted into the city Helen circled the Horse imitating  the voices of the Greek women left behind at home, almost like the Sirens did. Thus, she tortured  the men inside the wooden horse (including Odysseus and Menelaus) with the memory of their loved ones, and brought them to the brink of destruction.

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"Helen on the Walls of Troy" by Gustave Moreau (1895).

“Helen on the Walls of Troy” by Gustave Moreau (1895).

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The faces that launched a thousand ships. Both Frederick Leighton (left), and Gustave Moreau (right) depict an expressionless Helen; a blank or anguished face.

“Helen on the Walls of Troy”. (Two paintings dated 19th century). Both Gustave Moreau (1) and Frederick Leighton (2) depict an expressionless Helen. Blurry, anguished faces, that precisely “launched a thousand ships”.

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Gallery: “Helen of Troy”:

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The story of Helen began in young life

As Theseus plotted to take a Divine wife

Conflict ensued as her brothers did invade

Capturing Theseus’s Mother, revenged repaid

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Helen of Sparta, Daughter of Zeus

A beauty to behold blooming with youth

She attracted her suitors to ask for her hand

Menelaus won her; Becoming Queen of his land

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Abducted by Paris, or did she willingly run?

As Oaths to her King another battle was begun

Her face did launch a thousand ships to sea

As Helen of Troy, another legend began to be

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Helen of Troy, a beauty to behold,

A Trojan Horse, a plan so bold

Queen of Laconia, Menelaus her King

Now coupled with Paris, more tragedy to bring

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Who can say what heartache transpired?

Daughter of Zeus, extremely desired

Did she find Happiness? Who can tell?

But what we do know- Men fell under her spell..

 ©2015 Sue Dreamwalker.-

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►About Sue Dreamwalker:

Sue Dreamwalker is a Mother, a Wife, a Poet, a writer, and an Artist.
She hosts a wonderful blog, Dreamwalker’s Sanctuary
You can also connect with Sue at Google Plus.

►Sue Dreamwalker Dixit: 

“I am an ordinary woman who sees beyond this Vale,
Who wants to share her light and knowledge with others
I walk my path trying to help others along the way,
I hold a Dream of life that will end decay 
My path is long and the road may be tough 
But each of us has to try and give back and say enough is enough
So I share my visions through poems and thought
of hopes and Dreams in this life we get caught”.~
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Sue Dreamwalker. Visit her Blog: https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/

Sue Dreamwalker. Visit her Blog: https://suedreamwalker.wordpress.com/

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I would like to thank Henar de Andrés from “Pensando en la Oscuridad” for nominating me for a Black Wolf Blogger Award.

I would also like to thank  José Sala and Millie Thom for both nominating me for two Very Inspiring Blogger Awards (OMG & Puppy Versions).

please make sure to check out their blogs and to follow them, If you haven’t still done so!. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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►Rules for these Three Awards:

♠ Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
♠ Add the logo to your post.
♠Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform your nominees by commenting on their blogs. 

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►I) Nominees~ Black Wolf Blogger Award (Sparkles Version):

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1. Souldier Girl 2. Uninteresting Calc Equations 3. The Main Focus 4. Fedpoint86 5. Jully’s Blog 6. The Bégel’s Blab 7. It’s Jieyang! 8. Kintal 9. Underground Energy 10. Eye will not cry.

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►II) Nominees~Very Inspiring Blogger Award (OMG Version):

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1. Caminando 2. Collage a la Intemperie 3. Milam Ahard 4. Mimoreliadospuntocero 5. VivalaViv 6. Americana Injustica 7. All Out of Excuses 8. Bear Trainer 9. My red abyss 10. Perso in Poesia 2015.

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►III) Nominees~Very Inspiring Blogger Award (Puppy Version):

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1. Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings 2. Desertsunsaga 3. 4. The wind horse blog 5. The Cvillean 6. Ana Linden 7. Coming Out Crooked 8. Captain’s Log 9. The Dark Night Chronicles 10. Spahr Plops.

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►Links Post:
http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/hd/abouthelen.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_of_Troy
http://whitedragon.org.uk/articles/troy.htm
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/ElAnt/V10N2/
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/JudgementParis.html
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/troyilium/a/helenoftroybasc.htm

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On the Left:

On the Left: “Leda and the Swan” by Gustave Moreau. (1865-1875). On the Right: “Leda” by Gustave Moreau (1875-1880).

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Leda was daughter of the aetolian King Thestius and wife of King Tyndareus of Sparta.

Zeus took the form of a swan to seduce Leda. 

In Greek tradition, the Swan is the symbol of the Muses. The swan also has erotic connotations, such as in the love affair between Zeus and Leda. Also, the Greek Goddess of Beauty and Love, Aphrodite, had a swan-drawn chariot. Besides The swan, as a symbol of music, is also dedicated to Apollo, who was said to transform into a swan.

Back to the retelling: Zeus and Leda had sexual relationships the same night she had slept with her husband. 

Their consummation, on the same night as Leda lay with her husband Tyndareus, resulted in two eggs from which hatched the four children. (Zeus’ s and Tyndareus’).

According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen (later known as Helen of Troy) and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband and King of Sparta Tyndareus.

According to other sources, Nemesis, the Goddess of Revenge, produced the egg from which hatched the two sets of twins: Helen of Troy and Clytenmestra and the Discouri Castor and Pollux. Worth noting that these set of twins are supposedly from different fathers….

Clytenmestra and Helen were problematic women. The Trojan War will be provoked by the abduction of Helen.

And Clytemnestra will later on kill his own husband, Agamemnon and this is another incident related to the Trojan War.

Saying it briefly, the Greek Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, was kidnapped by the Trojans, so the Greeks besieged the city of Troy; after the war, Clytemnestra, the wife of the Greek leader Agamemnon, murdered him, with teh help of her lover, Aegistus.

Leda’s twin-sons, Castor and (Polydeuces or) Pollux, were renowned for their tender attachment to each other. They were also famous for their physical accomplishments, Castor being the most expert charioteer of his day, and Pollux the coward brother.

Their names appear both among the hunters of the Calydonian boar-hunt and the heroes of the Argonautic expedition.

Zeus wished to confer the gift of immortality upon Polydeuces as he was his son but he refused to accept it unless allowed to share it with Castor.

Zeus gave the desired permission, and the faithful brothers were both allowed to live, but only on alternate days. Castor and Polydeuces, also known as The Dioscuri received divine honours throughout Greece, and were worshipped with special reverence at Sparta.

Leda also had other daughters by Tyndareus: Timadra, Phoebe and Philonoe.

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On the Left:

On the Left: “Helen on the Walls of Troy” by Gustave Moreau. (1885). On the Right: Up: “Castor and Pollux, The Heavenly Twins”, by Giovanni Battista Cipriani. (1783). On the Right: Down: “Clytemnestra” by Frederick Leighton. (19th century).

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On the Left:

On the Left: “Leda and The Swan” by Leonardo da Vinci (1510). On the Right: Detail, “Leda and the Swan”: The children of Leda.

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On the Right:

On the Left: “Leda” by Leonardo da Vinci (1510 -1515). On the Right: “Leda and the Swan” by Francesco Melzi (16th century).

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►Reading: W. B. Yeats’ Poem “Leda and the Swan”:

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 ►Analysis of W. B. Yeats’ Poem “Leda and the Swan”:

William Butler Yeats (1865/1939).

William Butler Yeats (1865/1939).

“Leda and the Swan” (1924) is a Petrarchan Sonnet (*), a traditional fourteen-line poem predominantly written in Iambic Pentameter (**). [See notes below].

The poet retells a story from Greek mythology, the rape of the Princess of Sparta, Leda by the god Zeus, who had assumed the form of a swan.

Yeats combines words indicating powerful actions (sudden blow, beating, staggering, beating, shudder, mastered, burning, mastered) with adjectives and descriptive words that indicate Leda’s weakness (“caressed”, “helpless”, “terrified”, “vague”, “loosening”). By doing this, he increases the sensory impact of the poem.

The first eight lines of “Leda and the Swan” describe the act of rape from Leda’s perspective. The ninth line, appropriately enough, ends the description of the sexual act.

The last six lines of the poem, then, narrate the consequences of the it, for Leda, personally, and those ones related to the Trojan War.

“Leda and the Swan” looks a little different than other sonnets. It has three stanzas and 14 verses.

But, verse 11 appears to be broken off into two lines. Yeats probably divided this verse in order to heighten the drama of Agamemnon being dead and to show how the poem shifts back to Leda’s perspective.

•The first stanza is characterized by violent beats and pauses.

•The second stanza shifts to more flowing lines as Yeats philosophically reflects on the events. The verses here are structured by the question “how,” and there are many adjectives (“terrified,” “vague,” “feathered,” “loosening,” “white,” “strange”).

•In the third stanza, the adjectives pile up as the poem builds to the solemn declaration, “And Agamemnon dead”. 

The rhythm comes to a screeching halt as verse 11 is fractured over two lines, in order to reach emotional height. This stanza connects Leda’s hymenal wall with the walls of  the city of Troy.

The last verses of the poem become calm again. Yeats  returns to his percussive gentle beats, incorporating some alliteration (“brute blood”). Yeats will then wonder whether Leda, through her contact with Zeus, would be able to foresee how the result of their union—Helen—would bring about the fall of a great city. Hence, the poem ends with a rhetorical question, introduced as a sort of irresolvable doubt

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(*) The Petrarchan Sonnet is named after Petrarch, a 14th century Italian poet who made the form popular throughout Europe. Like all sonnets, the Petrarchan sonnet has 14 lines. Unlike all sonnets, it also has a major thematic shift after the eighth line. At this point, the poem introduces a new subject or shifts its perspective in some way.
(**) Iambic Pentameter is closely associated with Blank Verse, Iambic is an adjective. Iamb is the noun and is short for Iambus. Iambus is from the Greek and refers to two. Therefore, Iamb refers to a foot, or any two syllable“unit”, referred to as a foot by metrists, consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (or ictus).  An example of Iambic Pentameter in Yeats’ poem “Leda and the Swan” is: “He holds her help-less breast u-pon his breast“.

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►Gallery Of Paintings: “Leda and The Swan” (Leda and Zeus):

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“Leda and the Swan” by William Shackleton. (1928).

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 ►Links Post:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leda_and_the_Swan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leda_(mythology)

http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/myth-stories/lovers-of-zeus.ht

http://aliisaacstoryteller.com/2015/06/15/irish-mythology-the-swan/

http://www.druidry.org/library/animals/swan

http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/yeats/section7.rhtml

http://www.shmoop.com/leda-and-swan/poem-text.html

http://www.betterlivingthroughbeowulf.com/leda-and-the-swan-warning-necessary/

https://poemshape.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/what-is-iambic-pentameter-the-basics/

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I would like to thank José Sala for nominating me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

I also want to thank  Optimista Blog for nominating me for a Versatile Blogger Award.

Last but not least thanks to Janet Wertman for nominating me for another Versatile Blogger Award.

Thanks to these three bloggers and please make sure to check out their blogs and to follow them, If you haven’t still done so!.~ 🙄  

Note: For the three awards, I will nominate blogs I have recently came across and like, recent followers and/or plussers. Also, I am changing the logos so that way I can include new awards among mine… And, finally, I will follow the nomination process without answering questions or mentioning facts about me…. 

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►Rules for these Three Awards:

♠ Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
♠ Add the logo to your post.
♠Nominate ten (10) bloggers you admire and inform your nominees by commenting on their blogs. 

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►I) Nominees~Very Inspiring Blogger Award (Monkey & Sunflower Version):

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1. The Wayward Warrior 2. MidiMike 3. The Spendy Pencil 4. Unbolt 5. Yadadarcyyada 6. José Sala 7. Sunshine and Shadows 8. Optimista Blog 9. Pomad 10. The Daily Rant.

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►II) Nominees~Versatile Blogger Award (Purple Version):

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1. Carole Migalka 2. JoHanna Massey 3. Lightwalker’s Blog 4. Bibliobulimica 5. Life, the Universe and Lani 6. A Beautiful Mess 7. The Vanessa Chronicles 8. Allyson Lee Adams 9. Kerry’s loft 10. Mountaintop Talk.

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►III) Nominees~Versatile Blogger Award (Bird Version):

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1. Cadence4life 2. The Perceptions Square 3. Arwenaragornstar  4. The Chaos Realm 5. Shehanne Moore 6. Janet Wertman 7. Extravaganza Beading 8. Autumn Melody 9. The More I Learn the More I Wonder 10. Emily Lichtenberg

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►Greek Mythology: “Nemesis, the Goddess of Revenge”:

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 Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon. (1808).

“Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime” by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon. (1808).

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Nemesis (In Greek νέμειν némein, meaning “to give what is due” was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to  Hubris (arrogance before the gods).

She was also known as Rhamnusia. Another name for her was Adrasteia, meaning “the inescapable.” 

Nemesis directed human affairs in such a way as to maintain equilibrium.

Her name means she who distributes or deals out. 

She was related to the ideas of righteous anger, due enactment, or devine vengence.

The Greeks personified vengeful fate as a remorseless goddess: the goddess of revenge and righteous indignation.

Happiness and unhappiness were measured out by her, care being taken that happiness was not too frequent or too excessive. 

Nemesis has been described as the daughter of Zeus.

But, according to Hesiod, she was a child of Erebus and Nyx. She has also been considered the daughter of Nyx alone.

In the classic Greek tragedies, Nemesis appears chiefly as the avenger of crime and the punisher of hubris and as such is akin to Ate, the Greek goddess of mischief, delusion, ruin, and folly and the Erinyes.

In some metaphysical mythology, Nemesis produced the egg from which hatched two sets of twins: Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra and the Discouri Castor and Pollux.

From the fourth century onward, Nemesis, as the just balancer of Fortune´s chance, could be associated with Tyche.

Tyche (meaning “luck”; roman equivalent: Fortuna) was the presiding deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. She was the daughter of Aphrodite and Zeus or Hermes.

The Romans sometimes named Nemesis Invidia and described her as a goddess not only of the jealous indignation aroused by hubristic boasts but also as the goddess of jealousy in general.

A festival called Nemeseia was held at Athens. Nemesis was also worshipped in Patrai, Anatolia, Rhamnos and Smyrna.

Nemesis was usually depicted as a winged goddess.

Her attributes were apple-branch, rein, lash, sword, scales, rudder, and wheel. 

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►“Nemesis” (“The Great Fortune”). Engraving by Albrecht Dürer (1502):

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Nemesis (The Great Fortune) by Albrecht Dürer (1502).

“Nemesis” (“The Great Fortune”) by Albrecht Dürer (1502).

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Nemesis portrayed with a steering wheel, from a temple and statue of her in Rhamnus. In the Hellenistic period

Nemesis portrayed with a steering wheel, from a temple in Rhamnus. (Hellenistic period).

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►Links Post:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_%28mythology%29
http://www.pinterest.com/magistramichaud/gods-of-justice-retribution/
http://www.paleothea.com/Goddesses/N/
http://www.loggia.com/myth/nemesis.html

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►Last but not Least: Excellence Blog Award: 

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Excellence Blog Award.-

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I want to thank Gi from Tagirrelatos for nominating me for an Excellence Award. 

Make sure to check out her blog in order to read great, creative posts in Spanish… Anyhow, you can always use the translator 😉

►Here are the Award Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the respective logo on her/his blog and link to the blogger that has nominated her/him.

2) The nominee shall nominate ten (10) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about the nomination.

Note: I will nominate -in no particular order- new followers and/or great bloggers I have recently met or that I haven’t nominated yet.

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►These are my nominees for the Excellence Blog Award:

1. Swittersb and Exploring 2. Comicsgrinder 3. The Bonny Blog 4. Zimmerbitch 5. Jude’s Threshold 6. Risty’s Breath 7. K Clips 8. Jazz You Too 9. Weggieboy’s blog 10. Joëlle Jean-Baptiste

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►Greek Mythology: “The Erinyes” (The Furies):

►Poetry: Verónica Boletta: “Three”:

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"Orestes and the Erynies" by Gustave Moreau (1891).

“Orestes and the Erynies” by Gustave Moreau (1891).

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In Greek Mythology, the Erinyes were mainly goddesses of vengeance.

The name Erinnys, which is the more ancient one, was derived by the Greeks from the erinô or ereunaô, I hunt up or persecute, or from the Arcadian word erinuô, I am angry; so that the Erinnyes were either the angry goddesses, or the goddesses who hunt up or search after the criminal

The goddesses were often addressed by the euphemistic names Eumenides (“Kind Ones”) or Semnai Theai (“Venerable Goddesses”). Eumenides signifies “the well-meaning,” or “soothed goddesses”.

They were probably personified curses, but possibly they were originally conceived of as ghosts of the murdered. 

They were depicted as ugly, winged women with hair, arms and waists entwined with serpents:

 “You handmaidens, look at them there: like Gorgones, wrapped in sable garments, entwined with swarming snakes!”. Aeschylus, “Libation Beaers” (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.).

According to the Greek poet Hesiod, they were the daughters of Gaia (Earth) and sprang from the blood of her mutilated spouse Uranus; in the plays of Aeschylus, they were the daughters of Nyx; in those of Sophocles, they were the daughters of Darkness and of Gaia. Euripides was the first to speak of them as three in number.

Later authors named them Allecto (“Unceasing in Anger”), Tisiphone (“Avenger of Murder”), and Megaera (“Jealous”).

Among the things sacred to them we hear of serpents, chthonian animals associated with the Underworld. Also their sacred bird was the screech owl, a nocturnal bird of ill omen, closely associated with curses and the gods of the dead. As to the plants, they were associated to the narcissus.

They were particularly worshipped at Athens, where a festival called Eumenideia was celebrated in their honour.

These goddesses were sometimes seen as servants of Hades and Persephone in the Underworld.

As the Erinyes not only punished crimes after death, but during life on earth, they were conceived also as goddesses of fate, who, together with Zeus and the Moirae, led such men as were doomed to suffer into misery and misfortunes.

The wrath of the Erinyes manifested itself in a number of ways.

The most severe of these was the tormenting madness inflicted upon a patricide or matricide. Murderers might suffer illness or disease; and a nation harbouring such a criminal, could suffer dearth, and with it hunger and disease.

This is mostly what happens in Aeschylus’s “Oresteia”, a three-act drama of family fate, like the “Oedipus trilogy” by Sophocles.

The three parts of “The Oresteia” are: First: “Agamemnon”. Second: “The Libation Bearers“. Third and last play: “The Eumenides”.

In “Agamemnon”, Clytemnestra herself  murders his husband Agamemnon.

In “The Libation Bearers”, Clytemnestra is murdered by her son Orestes.

In the  third and last play,”The Eumenides”, Orestes is judged because of his crime by a jury composed of Athena and twelve Athenians. Although Orestes’ actions were what Apollo had commanded him to do, Orestes has still committed matricide, a grave sacrilege. Because of this, he is pursued and tormented by the terrible Erinyes. 

In Aeschylus’ tragedy “The Eumenides”, the Erinyes introduce themselves and later on, say to Orestes: 

“We claim to be just and upright. No wrath from us will come stealthily to the one who holds out clean hands, and he will go through life unharmed; but whoever sins and hides his blood-stained hands, as avengers of bloodshed we appear against him to the end, presenting ourselves as upright witnesses for the dead”. (Aeschylus’ Oresteia “The Eumenides”. 310).
“We drive matricides from their homes … Since a mother’s blood leads us, we will pursue our case against this man and we will hunt him down”… (Aeschylus’ Oresteia “The Eumenides”. 230).
“Allow us in return to suck the red blood from your living limbs. May we feed on you -a gruesome drink! We will wither you alive and drag you down, so that you pay atonement for your murdered mother’s agony”. (Aeschylus’ Oresteia “The Eumenides”. 265).

At Delphi’s Oracle, Orestes has been told by Apollo that he should go to Athens to seek the aid of the goddess Athena.

Once in Athens, Athena arranges for Orestes to be tried by a jury of Athenian citizens, with her presiding.

The Erinyes appear as Orestes’ accusers, while Apollo speaks in his defense. The jury vote is evenly split.

Athena participates in the vote and declares Orestes acquitted because of the rules she established for the trial.

Despite the verdict, the Erinyes threaten to torment all inhabitants of Athens.

Athena, however, offers the ancient goddesses a new role, as protectors of justice. Thus, she persuades them to break the cycle of blood for blood, as  as mercy should always take precedence over harshness. This threat satisfy the Erinyes, who are then led by Athena in a procession to their new city.

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"Orestes Pursued by the Furies" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1861).

“Orestes Pursued by the Furies” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1861).

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►Gallery: “The Erinyes” (The Three Furies):

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►Poetry: A poem by Verónica Boletta: “Three”:

Fate

is revenge.

Impious triad of

blood,

tears and whips.

Talion’s trident, (*)

incarnated in snakes:

haughty,

horrific and

unmentionable.

Each murder

finds punishment

in the gathering point

in which Eternity

and Infinite

turn into Hell.

Death

is not solace,

nor sheltering sky.

Hence…

madness.

©2014 Verónica Boletta.-

Note: (*) Talionthe system or legal principle of making the punishment correspond to the crime; retaliation.

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►About Verónica Boletta:

Verónica lives in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has a degree in Economic Sciences. 

‘Numbers’ are her Career of Currency as she says.

Regardless, she has her own “B side”. She is also a writer and therefore likes to embrace ‘Words’, particularly in the shape of great poems…

So, being this said and without further ado, make sure to check out Verónica’s blog hereAlso feel free to connect with her at Twitter

Verónica Boletta dixit“Abrazo los números como profesión de divisas y las palabras como profesión y esperanza de vida. Reescribo mis credenciales y mis cartas de presentación así como borroneo en bocetos, la vida. Soy la mirada y el ojo, los sonidos y el oído, las letras del abecedario y las palabras, los pies en la tierra y la esperanza en el cielo”.~

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Verónica Boletta.-

Verónica Boletta.-

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►Links Post:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/222733/Furies
http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Erinyes.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erinyes
http://dutchie.org/goddess-erinyes/ 
http://www.maicar.com/GML/ERINYES.html
http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Fi-Go/Furies.html

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►Greek Mythology: “Myrrha, Adonis and Persephone”(Myths and Interpretation):

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Myrrha

“Myhrra assisted by Lucina, the Goddess of Birth” by Jean de Court (1560).

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As we know from the previous postAdonis, Myrrha’s son, was raised up for both Goddess Persephone and Aphrodite.

Myrrha’s mother (being more precise, Adonis’ grandmother) had said that her daughter Myrrha was even more beautiful than Aphrodite herself . This was taken as offensive by the goddess of Beauty, who took revenge on that.

And in this case she took revenge of Myrrha’s mother by punishing her daughter, cursing Myrrha to fall in love and lust after her father, Cinyras.

Aphrodite appears here as a trouble maker. It is not the first time that she had looked for acknowledgment of her Beauty.

We must keep in mind here the Judgement of Paris in which Aphrodite offered Helen the most beautiful mortal woman, to Prince Paris of Troy, in exchange of that famous Golden apple labeled for the fairest one.

Retaking the preceding points, roman poet Ovid referred to Myrrha’s story in “Metamorphoses,” Book 10, lines 467-518.

Myrrha was the daughter of King Cinyras and Queen Cenchreis of Cyprus.

Myrrha felt attracted to her father. Knowing the love was forbidden she fought it as hard as she could to avoid her feelings. But as he couldn’t do so, she tried to kill herself. Just before she was goindg to commit suicide, Myrrha was discovered by her nurse who finally dissuaded her.

Myrrha confided her forbidden love to the nurse. The nurse tried to make Myrrha suppress the infatuation, but could not calm the girl. Finally the nurse agreed to help Myrrha get into her father’s bed if she promised that she would not try to kill herself again.

The women got their opportunity during a feast. Myrrha’s father, King Cinyras, was drunk in his bed. The nurse helped Myrrha to get into the bed by telling the King she was a young woman who was deeply in love with him.

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"Myrrha and Cinyras". Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid's Metamorphoses. Book X.

“Myrrha and Cinyras”. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”. Book X.

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In this manner, Myrrha and the nurse were able to deceive Cinyras. The affair lasted several nights in complete darkness to conceal Myrrha’s identity. One night, Cinyras wanted to know the identity of the girl with whom he had conducted the affair. Upon bringing in a lamp, and seeing his crime, the king drew his sword and attempted to kill her but she could escape.

After becoming pregnant of her own father Myrrha walked for nine months, lost in her own guilt.

Zeus finally took pity on her and transformed her into a myrrh tree.

When it came time for the birth, the Myrrh tree was somehow assisted by the birth goddess Lucina and six water nymphs. The tree appeared to wrench and finally cracked and delivered a baby boy, who would be later called Adonis.

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"The Birth of Adonis".  Engraving by Bernard Picart for Ovid's "Metamorphoses", Book X, 476-519.

“The Birth of Adonis”. Engraving by Bernard Picart for Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”.

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Aphrodite found the baby by the myrrh tree. She sheltered Adonis as a new-born baby and entrusted him to Persephone, the wife of Hades, who was the God of the Underworld

Aphrodite fell in love with the beautiful youth (possibly because she had been wounded by Eros’ arrow).

Persephone was also taken by Adonis’ beauty and refused to give him back to Aphrodite.

The dispute between the two goddesses was settled by Zeus 

Adonis was to spend one-third of every year with each goddess and the last third wherever he chose. Thus he decided to spend two-thirds of the year with Aphrodite.

Adonis’ death was tragic. He was killed (castrated) by a wild boar and died in Aphrodite’s arms, who sprinkled his blood with nectar from the anemone.  

It was said that Adonis’ blood turned the Adonis River, or Abraham River, red each spring.

After Adonis’ death, Aphrodite was so sad that Zeus decided to make Adonis immortal, allowing him to leave the underworld, to spend eight months of the year with Aphrodite.

He always, however, had to return to Hades and remain there the other four with Persephone.

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"The Death of Adonis" by Giuseppe Mazzuoli.(1709). The State Hermitage Museum

“The Death of Adonis” by Giuseppe Mazzuoli.(1709). The State Hermitage Museum

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Something worth highlighting here. There is a remarkable analogy between Adonis’ stay in both the Underworld and the World of the Living and Persephone’s myth, being also this Goddess one of the women (with Aphrodite) who raised Myrrha’s child, Adonis. 

This is shown specifically by the fact that Persephone (Demeter’s virgin daughter) was abducted by Hades, King of the Underworld.

According to the myth, Hades planted a meadow full of the narcissus flowers in order to entice Persephone. When she pulled on the flower, the Underworld opened up and Hades sprang up, carrying her off.

Later on, he gave Persephone a pomegranate. As she ate it, the fruit somehow cemented her marriage to Hades. Thus, she was bound to Hades for six months of each year, winter and autumn.

Persephone was allowed by her husband to join her mother in the World of Living, but only when summer and springtime arrived. 

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►”Greek Myths of Myrrha. Symbolism and Interpretation”:

Critical interpretation of this myth has considered Myrrha’s refusal of conventional sexual relations to have provoked her incest, with the ensuing transformation to tree as a silencing punishment. It has been suggested that the taboo of incest marks the difference between culture and nature and that Ovid’s version of Myrrha showed this.

Myrrha’ s love for his father may be related to the Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Jung.

The Electra complex is a girl’s psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father. In the course of her psychosexual development, the complex is the girl’s phallic phase, a boy’s analogous experience is the Oedipus complex.

As a psychoanalytic metaphor for daughter–mother psychosexual conflict, the Electra complex derives from the 5th-century BC Greek Mythological character Electra, who plotted matricidal revenge with Orestes, her brother, against Clytemnestra, their mother, and Aegistus, their stepfather, for their murder of Agamemnon, their  father. This story is told by Sofocles in his tragedy and by Aeschylus in his trilogy “Oresteia” (Second tragedy, “The Libation Bearers”).

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►Greek Myths of Myhrra, Adonis and Persephone. Symbols and Meanings”:

•Myrrha, transformed into a Myrrh Tree: Punishment. Myrrha is transformed and rendered voiceless making her unable to break the Taboo of Incest. The word “myrrh” in Ancient Greek was related to the word μύρον (mýron), which became a general term for perfume.

•Myrrha having sexual relationships with her father: Myrrha’s behavior here might be linked to the hero archetype, known as “The Fall”. It describes a descent in action from a higher to a lower state of being, an experience which might involve defilement, moral imperfection, and/or loss of innocence. This fall is often accompanied by expulsion from a kind of paradise as penalty for disobedience and/or moral transgression.

•Myrrha feeling guilty while she is pregnant: This attitude might be associated with, was is known in the Hero Pattern, an Unhealable Wound. Here, the wound, physical or psychological, cannot be healed fully. This would also indicate a loss of innocence or purity. Often the wounds’ pain drives the sufferer to desperate measures of madness. 

•Adonis, castrated by a Wild Boar: Adonis Castration might be considered equal to a Father-Castration, performed by Cinyras (Myhrra’s father and Adonis’  father and grandfather at the same time).

Castration is here performed as an extreme punishment which leads to death. It also entrains the fact that Adonis won’t be able to have sons or daughters with his substitute mothers (Aphrodite and/or Perspehone).

The symbology of Wild Boar is that of truth, courage and confrontation.

In some native Indian tribes Wild Boar was used as a way to teach young braves how to be honest and find their courage when they told a lie to the tribe.

•Aphrodite sprinkling Adonis’ blood with nectar from the anemone: Anemone blossom stories are mostly about death – that’s why its blossom is often liken with being forsaken or left behind. In the Greek version of Adonis’ death, the Anemone is a plant that symbolizes unfading love. 

For the Christian version of the meaning of anemones, it’s a symbol of the blood that Jesus Christ shed on the cross.  That’s the reason why you’ll see a bunch of anemones on several paintings of the crucifixion.

•Adonis’ death and resurrection: The most common of all situational archetypes, Death and Rebirth grow out of the parallel between the cycle of nature and life. The cycle of death and rebirth was linked with the regeneration of vegetation and the crop seasons in ancient Greece. Besides, this myth is related to the perennial nature of beauty, as Adonis died only to be reborn in the underworld.

•Adonis’ blood, which turned the Adonis River, or Abraham River, red each spring: Red (Blood and river colors) Red represents sacrifice; violent passion, disorder, sunrise, birth, fire, emotion, wounds, death, sentiment, mother. Rivers/Streams: They represent life force and life cycle

•Adonis resurrected, spend his time with both Persephone in the Underworld and Aphrodite in The World of Living: Beyond the fact that both Goddesses raised Adonis, this metaphor might be linked to the double dichotomy Light-Life / Darkness-Death. In which Light usually suggests hope, renewal, life and intellectual illumination; whilst darkness implies the unknown, death, ignorance, or despair.

It might be also related to the opposites Hell (Underworld)/Heaven: Hell represents the diabolic forces that inhabit the universe and heaven the God Forces.

•Persephone eating the pomegranate that Hades gave her: In this myth, the pomegranate is related to the changing of seasons and might be also considered as a symbol of indivisibility of marriage. Seasons: Spring: It represents Birth and New Beginnings. Summer: Associated to maturity and Knowledge. Autumn: Linked to Decline, nearing Death, growing old. Winter: Representing Death, sleep, hibernation.

•Persephone’s realms: The Underworld: Black space. Black color: It represents darkness, chaos, mystery, the unknown, death, the unconscious and evil.

•Persephone released from the Underworld by HadesAs Persephone came back to the Living World to spend six months of each year with her mother Demeter, the flowers and crops grow great. 

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►Links Post:
http://www.uffizi.org/artworks/la-primavera-allegory-of-spring-by-sandro-botticelli/
http://www.iconos.it/le-metamorfosi-di-ovidio/libro-x/venere-e-adone/immagini/21-venere-e-adone/
http://spiritsymbols.blogspot.com.ar/2013/10/wild-boar.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrrha
http://ancientsites.com/aw/Post/1260902
http://www.squidoo.com/pomegranatesymbolism
http://froggey.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/the-pomegranate-the-righteous-fruit/
http://www.auntyflo.com/flower-dictionary/anemone
http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/greek_goddess_persephone.htm
http://www.paleothea.com/SortaSingles/Persephone.html
http://mythologyinfo.webs.com/theseasons.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electra_complex
http://www.muhsd.k12.ca.us/cms/lib5/CA01001051/Centricity/Domain/520/English%203/Unit%201%20–%20Early%20American%20Lit/ArchetypesandSymbols.pdf
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Greek Mythology:

“Agamemnon’s Family and the War of Troy”:

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The war originated from a quarrel between the goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite after Eris, the goddess of strife and discord, gave them a golden apple, sometimes known as the Apple of Discord, marked “for the fairest” (Kallisti in greek).

Zeus sent the goddesses to Paris, who judged that Aphrodite, as the “fairest”, should receive the apple. In exchange, Aphrodite made Helen, the most beautiful of all women and wife of Menelaus, fall in love with Prince Paris, who took her to Troy.

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"Venus Induces Helen to Fall in Love with Paris" by Angelica Kauffmann.-

“Venus Induces Helen to Fall in Love with Paris” by Angelica Kauffmann (1790).-

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Agamemnon,  the king of Argos or Mycenae, was  the husband of Clytemnestra and the father of Iphigenia, Electra, Orestes and Chrysotemis. 

Menelaus was Agamemnon’ s brother, and, besides, the king of Sparta. 

When Helen, Menelaus’ wife, was abducted by Paris of Troy, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War.

Greek forces gathered at Aulis. However,  weak winds prevented the fleet from sailing. The priest Calchas said the winds would be favorable if Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to the goddess Artemis.

Agamemnon persuaded his wife Clytemnestra to send Iphigenia by deceptively telling her that the purpose of his daughter’s visit was to marry her to Achilles, the greek heroe.

The trojan War ended with the Achaean’s (or greek’s ) victory. 

The Greeks tricked the Trojans. They made them know that they had won the war by sending all their ships into hiding. This made the Trojans believe they were gone. As a parting gift, the Greeks had left a wooden horse which the Trojans brought into their city. Inside of it there were lots of achaeans soldiers. Once in the city of Troy, the Greeks came off, slaughtered the Trojans and desecrated their temples. 

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Building of the Trojan Horse" by Giandomenico Tiepolo (1774).-

“Building of the Trojan Horse” by Giandomenico Tiepolo (1774).-

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Click above for further analisis and details on Tiepolo’s painting. Slideshare feature.

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The war lasted ten years and ended with the wooden horse episode and after the deaths of many heroes, including the Achaeans Achilles and Ajax, and the Trojans Hector and Paris.  

During this period of Agamemnon’s long absence, his wife Clytemnestra began a love affair with Aegisthus, her husband’s cousin. 

Upon Agamemnon’s return from Troy, he was murdered (according to the oldest surviving account, Homer´s “Odyssey”) by Aegisthus, the lover of his wife, Clytemnestra.

In some later versions Clytemnestra helps him or kills herself Agamemnon, like Aeschylus tells us in “The Oresteia”. 

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Aeschylus’s Oresteia: “A Tragedy in Three Plays”:

The best-known version of Agamemnon ‘s death and the following events related to the war of Troy is that of Aeschylus’s  “Oresteia”, a three -act drama of family fate, like the “Oedipus trilogy” by Sophocles. The term “Oresteia” originally probably referred to all four plays, but today is generally used to designate only the surviving trilogy. 

The parts of “The Oresteia” are: First: “Agamemnon”. Second: The Libation Bearers. Third and last play: “The Eumenides”.

In the first one, (“Agamemnon”) Clytemnestra herself  murders his husband Agamemnon.

In the second part (“The Libation Bearers”) Clytemnestra is murdered by his son Orestes.

In the  third and last play,”The Eumenides”, Orestes is judged by a jury composed of Athena and twelve Athenians. After being counted, the votes on each side are equal. Athena declares that tied juries will result in the defendant (Orestes) being acquitted as mercy should always take precedence over harshness.

For further details on this topic, check out this article: “Background and Images for the Oresteia“.

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Links Post:
http://www.stanford.edu/~plomio/history.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agamemnon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clytemnestra
https://www.greatbooks.org/resources/guides/drama/the-oresteia/
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/poetsplaywrightswriters/a/oresteia.htm

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