Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2012

Document Type




First Advisor

Jeffrey DeShell


This thesis seeks to create an understanding of the mythological characters of Clytemnestra and Electra as they were portrayed by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. By examining these plays in conjunction with the historical setting in which they were written and performed, this discussion shows how these two female characters play masculine roles in order to achieve their desires. These fictional women reveal how the real-life women of Classical Athens, were always caught in a double bind due to the patriarchal society in which they lived. This thesis examines the plays of these playwrights in their original Greek in order to examine how these women play masculine roles though their actions as well as the very words they use. This discussion ends with an examination of these female characters in relation to the male character Orestes which shows how these women are ultimately unsuccessful in their attempts to achieve their desires because they are, in the end, women.