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Man’s mind in a woman’s heart. ~ Aeschylus
Her will consenting to his will, he led ~ Homer

In Greek mythology, Clytemnestra (Greek: Κλυταιμνήστρα, Klytaimnḗstrā) was the wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, and the half-sister of Helen of Troy. In Aeschylus' Oresteia, she murders Agamemnon – said by Euripides to be her second husband – and the Trojan princess Cassandra, whom Agamemnon had taken as a war prize following the sack of Troy; however, in Homer's Odyssey, her role in Agamemnon's death is unclear and her character is significantly more subdued.


  • Not Clytemnestra’s self in Beauties Bloom
    More charm’d, or better ply’d the various Loom:
    • Agamemnon, on Chryseis. Homer, Iliad, I
    • John Dryden, tr., "The First Book of Homer’s Ilias"
      • Fables, Ancient and Modern (1700)
  • “For we sat down in leaguer overseas
    Doing great feats of arms, while Aegisthus at ease
    Deep in horse-pasturing Argos won the soul
    Of Agamenmon's wife with flatteries.
    “And glorious Clytemnestra first for long
    Rejected utterly the deed of wrong:
    For her own mind was right; and by her side
    She had for guardian a man skilled in song,
    “Into whose keeping Atreus' son had lent
    His wife, when to the Trojan land he went,
    Charging him well to guard her: but when fate
    Ordained her fall and her entanglement,
    “He to an island not inhabited
    Bore off the minstrel, and there left him dead,
    A prey to birds, and to his house the Queen,
    Her will consenting to his will, he led.
    • Nestor to Telemachus. Homer, Odyssey, III, 239–275
    • J. W. Mackail, tr., The Odyssey (1903, revised 1932)
  • Man’s mind in a woman’s heart.
  • There is the sea—shall any stanch it up?—
    Still breeding, for its worth of silver weight,
    Abundant stain, freshly renewable,
    For purpling robes withal: nay, Heaven be praised,
    The house, my lord, affords us plenty such;
    ’Tis not acquainted yet with penury.
    I had vowed the trampling of a thousand robes,
    Had the oracles enjoined it when I sought
    Means for recovery of a life so precious!
    Still from the living root the mantling green
    Against the Dog-star spreads a leafy screen,—
    So thou returning to thy hearth and home,
    Warmth as in winter cries Behold me come!
    Aye and when mellowing Zeus makes ripe and sweet
    Wine from the young grape’s bitter, cool in heat
    Reigns within walls where moves the man complete:—
            [As Agamemnon goes in.
    O Zeus completer, now complete my prayer,
    Completion of thy plans be now thy care!
    • Clytæmnestra. Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 958–974
  • All my politic speeches heretofore
    Shall nowise make me blush now to confess
    The truth and contrary:—how else indeed
    When studying hate’s act for a hated foe
    Supposed friend—how else pitch the toils of Doom
    To a height beyond o'erleaping? 'Twas not sudden;
    For me, ’twas but
    The test and trial of an ancient feud,
    Long thought on, and at last in time arrived:—
    I stand here now triumphant, where I struck!
    And so contrived it also—I'll avow it—
    As neither should he scape me nor resist:
    I wreathed around him, like a fishing-net,
    Swathing in a blind maze,—deadly Wealth of robe,—
    And struck two blows; and with a groan for each
    His limbs beneath him slacked; and as he lay,
    I gave him yet a third, for grace of prayer
    To God Safe-keeper—of the dead below.
    With that he lay still, panting his own life out:
    And as the gory jets he blasted forth,
    Rain of the sanguine drench bespattered me,
    Rejoicing, as in balm of heaven rejoices
    Cornland when the teeming ear gives birth!
  • Where e’re you walk, the Belides you meet;
    And Clytemnestra’s grow in ev’ry Street:
    But here’s the difference; Agamemnon’s Wife
    Was a gross Butcher, with a bloody Knife;
    But Murther, now, is to perfection grown,
    And subtle Poysons are employ’d alone:
    Unless some Antidote prevents their Arts,
    And lines with Balsom all the Noble parts:
    In such a case, reserv’d for such a need,
    Rather than fail, the Dagger does the Deed.
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