Clytemnestra facts for kids

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Klytaimnestra Erinyes Louvre Cp710
Detail view of a Greek vase painting. It shows Klytaimnestra with the Erinyes. It is from the Louvre in Paris.

Clytemnestra (Greek: Κλυταιμνήστρα, Klytaimnḗstra, Template:IPA-el) was the wife of Agamemnon and queen of Mycenae (or sometimes Argos) in ancient Greek legend. She was married to Agamemnon, King of Mycenae. With him her children were Iphigenia, Elektra, Orestes and Chrysothemis.

Murder of Agamemnon, painting by Pierre-Narcisse Guérin.
Clytemnestra by John Collier, 1882
Clytemnestra, John Collier, 1882

Clytemnestra was the daughter of Tyndareus and Leda, the King and Queen of Sparta. According to the myth, Zeus appeared to Leda in the form of a swan. Leda produced four offspring Castor, Clytemnestra, Helen and Polydeuces (Pollux).

After the Trojan War, Klytaimnestra and Aegisthos killed Agamemnon. Klytaimnestra and Aegisthos are later killed by her son Orestes.

  • She is one of the main characters in Aeschylus's Oresteia, and is central to the plot of all three parts. She murders Agamemnon in the first play, and is murdered herself in the second. Her death then leads to the trial of Orestes by a jury composed of Athena and 10 Athenians in the final play.
  • The fictional protagonist Becky Sharp plays Clytemnestra in a charade described in chapter 51 of William M. Thackeray's novel Vanity Fair.
  • In Ferdinando Baldi's The Forgotten Pistolero, a Spaghetti Western adaptation of the Oresetia, Clytemnestra is named Anna Carrasco and is portrayed by Luciana Paluzzi.
  • The American modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham created a two-hour ballet, Clytemnestra (1958), about the queen.
  • Most recently, playwright and actor Corey Allen wrote a contemporary adaptation of Aeschylus' earlier work entitled Clytemnestra.
  • The story has also been adapted into an opera; Cromwell Everson a South African composer wrote the first Afrikaans opera, Klutaimnestra, in 1967. It is an opera in four acts and premiered on November 7, 1967, in Biesenbach Hall, Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa.
  • Rhian Samuel composed a 1994 work for voice and ensemble adapting Aeschylus' work from Clytemnestra's viewpoint.
  • John Eaton composed an opera in one act entitled The Cry of Clytemnestra recounting the events leading up to and including Clytemnestra's murder of Agamemnon.
  • She is a character in Jean-Paul Sartre's play The Flies.
  • She is mentioned in comparison with a character from Agatha Christie's Nemesis (1971) by the name of Clotilde Bradbury-Scott. She often muses that she can see her planning and murdering her husband in a tub, but not a young girl.
  • In the 2003 miniseries Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra is played by Katie Blake. As in the myth, she murders Agamemnon in revenge for sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia.

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