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Table of Content
I. Introduction
II. Agamemnon
III. The Libation Bearer
IV. Eumenides
    The ruling family of Mycenae was subjected to a curse which afflicted generation after generation. Descended from Zeus. Pelos had two sons, Atreus and Thyestes. These brothers fought for the right the right to rule the city. It was agreed that whoever possessed the golden fleece of a ram should become king. The goddes Artemis awarded it to Atreus, but Atreus's wife handed over to Thyestes, who was her lover. Atreus then battled with his brother and won the city for himself. But he was not content with this victory. He invited Thyestes' to a banquet, and served his brother casseroles cooked from the bodies of Thyestes' own sons. Thyestes left Mycenae cursing his brother.

    The curse extended to the next generation. In exile Thyestes slept with his own daughter, who gave birth to Aegisthus. Meanwhile, Arteus had two sons, Menelaus and Agamemnon, who married two daughters of Zeus, Helen and Clytemnetra. Agamemnon and Clytamnestra had three children: Iphgenia Electra and Orestes. When the Trojan prince Paris won Helen as a prize and carried her off to Troy. Arteus' sons vowed to win her back, and marshalled their troops to lay siege to Troy. As a gurantee of success, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia before he set sail. 

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The Oresteia
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University of Calgary



The introduction of The Oresteia is written Dr. Barbara Belyea. It was a class note for the students in English 237.5 winter session. I hope this introduction will be give you a better understanding of the trilogy: The Oresteia.