Hoe je moeder te vermoorden? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 50, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573



In this paper I argue for a psychological reading of the of Euripides. The negative qualifications of Clytaemnestra by the farmer, the chorus and the old man strengthen the conviction of Electra and Orestes that they have no choice but to kill their mother, so that in the first half of the play they only consider to do it, not they should do it. Their conviction is challenged when Clytaemnestra arrives on stage in the fourth episode and is allowed to defend herself, but only radically changes they have committed the murder. Then they come, as it were, to their senses and the chorus too sees their actions in a different light. To shed light on the processes at play, I draw comparisons with such modern concepts as ‘peer pressure’ and ‘tunnel vision’ and discuss the jealousy Electra seems to feel for her mother, which fuels her anger. As a starting point, the introduction explains the democratic qualities of the genre of tragedy, in particular the way it asked the original audience to judge the characters on stage in the same way as they had to judge plaintiffs or the accused in the Athenian law courts.


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