Written by Aeschylus circa 458 B.C.E, Agamemnon is the first play in the tragic trilogy Oresteia. Although the play takes place in the city of Argos, the actual historical site of the play is the city of Mycenae.
The play Agamemnon begins with the Watchman awaiting a beacon of light to signal the success of Agamemnon and the fall of Troy. Once it has been rendered, the Watchman informs Queen Clytemnestra. The Chorus then enters and tells of the events that led up to the current scene, including the sacrifice of Clytemnestra’s daughter, Iphigenia.
When Agamemnon arrives at the palace, Clytemnestra greets him warmly. Agamemnon has brought a slave to Argos with him, Cassandra. Cassandra is his mistress and she, as well as Clytemnestra, remains outside after Agamemnon enters the palace. Clytemnestra tries to convince Cassandra to enter the palace, but gives up after Cassandra appears to be mute.
The Queen then follows Agamemnon into the palace and Cassandra is left outside with the Chorus. During her time with the Chorus, Cassandra prophesizes hers and Agamemnon’s death by the hands of the Queen. She also recounts how she ended up in the current situation.
The Chorus claims they cannot understand what she is saying and refuses to acknowledge the truth in her statements. Following the dialogue between Cassandra and the Chorus, Agamemnon is killed; Cassandra follows shortly after. Subsequent to these events, Aegisthus enters the scene.
Both Clytemnestra and Aegisthus admit to playing a role in Agamemnon’s death but do not take responsibility for their actions; they blame Fate and Justice. The play closes with the Chorus warning Clytemnestra and Aegisthus of the consequences of their actions and Clytemnestra ignoring the words of the wise.