n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - Cassandra - feminine corrective in Aeschylus's

Volume 51, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0065-1141
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In Aeschylus's the representation of Cassandra recalls Iphigenia and contrasts with Clytemnestra. The uneasy relationship between Cassandra and Apollo seems to be an Aeschylean innovation. Cassandra's betrayal and rejection of the god reveals problems about her own position as Virgin Bride and Sacrificial Virgin. Aeschylus links her to two husbands, a divine one and a mortal one, Apollo and Agamemnon. Through use of bridal imagery and language one may read bridal overtones into the scene of Cassandra's arrival and may also be forgiven for confusing, at first, the identity of her spouse. Cassandra is not just a prophetess and unwilling bride of Apollo; she is also a foreign woman, a slave and a concubine - the war trophy of Agamemnon. As illegitimate bride to the victorious king, her virginal status is called into question. Wohl insists on allying Cassandra with other virgins of tragedy, such as Iphigenia and Iole, while the text itself occludes her status as she oscillates between virgin, concubine and legitimate wife in her language and behaviour. This article proposes that the prophetess functions as a feminine corrective for the problematic aspects of the other feminine figures in this play, notably Iphigenia, unwilling Bride of Death and Clytemnestra, Bad Wife and murderess of Agamemnon.

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