Fate Versus Free Will in Agamemnon

Miles O’Keefe
English III IB – A4
March 8th, 2013
Fate versus Free Will; in Agamemnon
In Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, all of the characters express varying levels of free will in their actions: the Argonian king appears to be acting out of free will but is in fact living out the curse of Atreus, his wife Clytaemnestra kills him using the excuse of fate but in fact in free will, and Cassandra walks into her death out of free will to face her own fate. All of their actions were the result of a combination of external influence and internal will, just with certain characters having more of one that another.
Clytaemnestra kills Agamemnon under the guise of serving his fate, but in truth kills him out of free will in order to bring herself to power. Clytaemnestra uses the fate of the gods as an excuse for her actions, standing by the statement that she “did it all… He had no way to flee or fight his destiny”(1400). Clytaemnestra attempted to convince the chorus that her action is not on her behalf but rather the gods. Because Greek culture valued the gods so much, if the chorus believed her it would be a perfect justification; she would be the actor in place of the gods rather than a violent rouge. This alone doesn’t prove that she planned his death explicitly, however Clytaemnestra did not deny the leader’s accusation that “you planned my great commander’s fall”(170). Clytaemnestra and Aegisthus together worked to bring down Agamemnon. All of Clytaemnestra’s actions leading up to this point were for this exact purpose, and the chorus realizes this when she ruthlessly reveals her affair with Aegisthus. Clytaemnestra’s choice to kill Agamemnon is attempted to be excused by her executing his fate, but is revealed to simply be her taking the necessary action to remain in power.
Although it appears that Agamemnon stepped on the tapestries out of free will, the conditions and culture that surrounded him made it his fate to do so, as he did not want to step on them but did...