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MonkeyNotes-Electra by Euripides
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Meanwhile the chorus remarks that Electraís husband is hurrying home from work. The peasant arrives. At first he is surprised to see Orestes and Phylades whom he does not recognize. He tells his wife Electra that it is not proper for her to be talking to those young men. Electra informs him that they are friends of Orestes. He then inquires about Orestes and invites them to be his guests. Electra introduces him to them and informs them that he is known as "poor Electraís husband." Orestes observes that a man cannot be judged merely by appearance. He has "seen a noble father breed a worthless son, /And good sons come of evil parents." He wonders how one can tell the good from bad. To judge by wealth is improper, though poverty is a disease. And want makes men commit crime. One does not know who is brave and who is a coward. So the best way is to judge a man as we find him.

Orestes and Phylades accept the invitation and they go into the cottage. Electra is perturbed and tells her husband that he should not have invited them into the house since they are far above his level. But her husband is undisturbed. He is convinced that if they are as noble as they look, they will be as comfortable in his cottage as elsewhere. Moreover, he says that there is enough food in their home to feed them for one day. Electra then tells him to go to her fatherís servant, who tends sheep, and was turned out of Argos. She sends a message to him to bring something, so that she can cook something for the guests.


Electra, Orestes and Phylades go into the house. The peasant goes to fetch the old servant. While the old servant is on his way to the peasantís cottage, he sees the grave of Agamemnon. He sees that a sacrifice has recently been made and there are some red hairs on the grave. When he reaches the peasantís cottage, he meets Electra lovingly and gives her a lamb, cheese and some flowers. He tells her about the sacrifice at Agamemnonís grave and comes to the conclusion that Orestes is in the vicinity. Electra does not believe that there is any possibility of Orestes being in Argos. Then he says that she can go and check the footprints. But Electra says that there could be no footprints on a rocky ground. Moreover Orestesí feet would be much bigger than hers. Then he talks about the cloak, which Electra had woven for him. He might wear it for recognition. Electra says he must have outgrown the cloak. She presumes that some Argive might have made the sacrifice and therefore the offering was seen on the grave.

Orestes and Phylades come out of the cottage. At first the old servant does not recognize them. He however, realizes that they are noblemen. Yet he feels that their nobility might be counterfeit. However, he greets them. Electra tells them that this man had saved her brother, and if he is alive, he owes his life to him. The old man recognizes the scar on the forehead of Orestes and thus realizes that he is Orestes. Thus Electra and Orestes happily embrace each other being convinced that they are brother and sister.

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