The character of Electra

  • Created by: Isabella
  • Created on: 30-04-14 21:33
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  • The character of Electra
    • Tragic heroine
      • She is obsessed with her father's death and begins the play in mourning
      • Early speeches- characterised by grief and despair
      • Waits for Orestes- feels he is the only one who can commit their revenge
      • Grief genuine- but also feels it is a duty
    • Resentment of her life
      • Resentment of her life in the palace & her mother's treatment of her
        • Complains of her ragged clothes and being treated like a servant
      • Expresses her situation with a degree of self pity
      • Dislikes Aegithus- "a spineless man- a total disaster"
        • However, he has a degree of power over her- is able to treat her as a prisoner when present
    • Emotional rollcoaster throughout
      • Reaches the depths of despair- thinking of suicide when she discovers Orestes' death
      • Followed by a determination to kill Aegithus herself
      • Then reaches elation on discovering Orestes is alive
      • The ending- completely determined about the death of her mother and Aegithus- NO MERCY.
    • Sophoclean hero
      • Typical Sophoclean hero
      • Individual who stands up for her beliefs and refuses to compromise
      • So determined she ignores the arguments put forward  by her sister
      • For her- ultimately "glory through victory, or death"
    • Instrument of revenge
      • From start- does not fundamentally question the justice of her case
      • Becomes this is as the play progresses
      • By the end- keener to kill then Orestes
        • B/c she has been facing everything on her own whilst Orestes has been away
    • Relationship with the audience
      • How people see her and sympathise with her depends on how she is played
      • At first- motivated bylove for her father and sense of betrayal by her mother
      • Thus- her actions are easy to sympathise with
      • Later is more driven by revenge, which she enjoys
    • Nature of her cause
      • Modern audiences- sympathise with her grief and lamentations
      • But the nature of her cause may cause problems
      • Killing her mother- extreme act
      • Idea of personal revenge- not relatable to modern audiences; this is often left to the Courts nowadays
    • Determination, resilience and rebellious
      • These attitudes can be seen as admirable
      • She is heroic, courageous and self sacrificing towards her duty to her dead father
      • However- her other qualities, such as self-reliance and self pity, viciousness and glee at revenge may not be as admired by modern audiences
  • Killing her mother- extreme act


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