Clytemnestra: Background information when reading Clytemnestra

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A Novel

by Costanza Casati

Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati X
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati
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  • Published:
    May 2023, 448 pages


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This article relates to Clytemnestra

An 1882 oil painting by John Collier showing Clytemnestra, standing in a doorway and holding an axe, after having murdered Agamemnon Constanza Casati's Clytemnestra focuses on the life of the title character, known in mythology as the vengeful wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae, Greece. In her novel, Casati paints a full and nuanced picture of this much-villainized figure.

Clytemnestra is the daughter of Leda, a princess who becomes a Spartan queen. According to different versions of the myth, while married to the king Tyndareus, Leda is either raped or seduced by the god Zeus, who approaches her while disguised in the form of a swan. She subsequently gives birth to Clytemnestra and her sister Helen. Later in life, Helen is either kidnapped or willingly drawn away from her husband Menelaus by the Trojan prince Paris, leading to the events of the Trojan War. Clytemnestra's husband Agamemnon, the brother of Menelaus, is charged with leading Greek forces to battle with Troy. However, Agamemnon angers the goddess Artemis — according to some sources, by killing a deer in a sacred grove. As a result, Artemis ...

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