35 pages 1 hour read



Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 409

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Lines 717-1245Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Lines 717-1017 Summary

Orestes feels deserted and outraged. Pylades, whom Orestes had promised Electra in marriage, rushes in. Orestes tells him he and Electra “are ruined,” and Pylades pledges his loyalty (164). Orestes explains that Menelaus has betrayed them, promising to help but only as “cowards” do, and that Tyndareus is against them. Pylades asks if they can escape into exile, but sentries are posted everywhere to prevent this. Pylades reveals that his father has banished him for helping a matricide. They consider their options and determine that Orestes must present himself at the council, hoping they will see his cause as just and/or pity him. Orestes refuses “to die a coward’s death” (166). They agree not to tell Electra and to stop at Agamemnon’s grave on the way to ask for help.

The Chorus sings about the curse on the house of Atreus and Clytemnestra’s murder. Electra enters looking for Orestes, and the Chorus tells her he has gone to speak in his defense at the Argive council. A messenger enters with news that the council has voted: Electra and Orestes must die on this day. Proclaiming himself loyal to Agamemnon, the messenger recounts the meeting.