Sophocles’ Electra

Context – spend no longer than 45 minutes


I wonder, Electra, what can have possessed you
To put on such bold armour, and call on me
To serve under your orders? Do you forget
You are only a woman, and weaker than your enemy?
His day is rising, ours is running out
And almost ended. Who could set a snare
For such a man and not himself be caught
In the net of doom? Take care; this kind of talk,
If anyone hears it, will bring us from bad to worse.
Honour and glory will do us little good
If we die an inglorious death for it.
O, Electra, for pity’s sake, think what you do
Before you destroy us all and end our history
For ever.
Page 98
  1. Who is Chrysothemis and what has Electra asked her to do? (10)
  2. In what ways are Electra and Chrysothemis different? (10)
  3. Study the underlined words and phrases. Explain why it is surprising that such words are used by either of these two women. (10)
  4. Do you think Electra is in any way admirable in this play? (15)
    (Quality of written communication: 5 marks)
Essay – choose one,  spend no longer than 45 minutes
  1. “Orestes and Electra are just as bad as each other.” Do you agree?
  2. Compare the Clytemnestra in this play with Aeschylus’ Clytemnestra. Are there any significant differences?
(50 marks)