The Chorus of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon seems to resemble a jury, although it cannot operate effectively because of the political structure of Argos. Embedded in the narrative voice of the Chorus are the critical words of Argive citizens that destabilize the equanimity of the Elders; their reluctance to confront Agamemnon’s culpability for the slaughter of his daughter sends them into impotent confusion. While they use the language of the law court, they are incapable of making any judgment themselves. After being confronted with the death of their king, they leave the theater in stunned silence. Similarities with the silent jury of Athenian citizens whose split vote is resolved by Athena’s intervention in the Eumenides suggest a contrast between the two groups of old men that privileges the democratic ideology of Athens.


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pp. 56-75
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