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MonkeyNotes-Electra by Euripides
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Orestes strongly sympathizes with his poor, neglected, unhappy, mournful sister. His own destructiveness is stimulated by his resentment and his mother’s neglect. During her lifetime, he had to be sent away for safety instead of being looked after by her. He is thus deprived of her love. The primary motive for Electra’s hatred also is that she has not been loved and protected by her mother. Her mother, though a queen did not protect her from being married to a peasant and live in utter poverty and discomfort. According to Melanie Klein, Electra’s hatred, though intensified by the murder of Agamemnon, has its seed in the rivalry of the daughter for the mother, which focuses on the unconscious frustration at not having had sexual gratification by the father. Early disturbances of the girl’s relation to the mother are important in the development of the Oedipus complex, which some psychoanalysts refer to as the Electra complex. According to Bion there is a deeper aspect of the Oedipus tragedy and that is blindness to reality. Electra and Orestes are blind to the reality that their mother does have some goodness in her. She must have cared for them at least to some extent when they were infant. They can only see her as totally bad.


According to Melanie Klein, the hostility between Cassandra and Clymenestra is another aspect of Oedipus complex. Their direct rivalry regarding Agamemnon illustrates one aspect of the mother and daughter relationship. It is rivalry between two women, as both want sexual gratification from the same man. Cassandra being Agamemnon’s lover could feel like his daughter who has succeeded in taking away the father from the mother and therefore expects to be punished by her. It is part of the Oedipus situation that the mother responds with hatred to such Oedipal desires of the daughter.

Electra invites her mother to her cottage for the tenth day ceremony. The tenth day ceremony is the naming ceremony and also the purification ceremony for the mother. Both these ceremonies were performed simultaneously.

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