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This essay will address the question, why is a mother figure so central to the plot and staging of the Persae? To answer this question, I look first at the mother-son dynamic in early epic, and then to a closer parallel, Aeschylus's Clytemnestra. Such comparisons show that we are to understand the Persian queen in a more positive light than has been recently argued. I conclude that the character of the queen plays a pivotal role in framing the return of Xerxes. Her presence, combined with the play's repeated images of maternal fecundity and loss, serves to intensify her son's public disgrace in the final scene, as well as to underscore his mortality.