Previously on The House of Atreus, Orestes, scion of the royal family of Argos, had an eventful homecoming that began in bloodshed, and ended with the Furies arising from Hell to torment him to death for killing his Ma.
Now, he’s on the run. In his madness, he’s gone back to where it all started, Delphi, hoping he can somehow convince Apollo to appear and help him out. The scene opens on both the hunters and the prey, having exhausted each other with the chase, asleep around the seat of the Oracle.
(To get the whole story, start here, at Part One)
“I knew I shouldn’t have turned the snooze capability off this new alarm clock… ” – Orestes
Want to begin at the beginning? Start here.
A quick recap of the story so far, since we’ve been on hiatus: The Curse of the House of Atreus, which was born in the bloodshed of Pelops, has been wrecking havoc on his descendants in the usual way, that is, fratricide, incest, cannibalism, adultery, and plain ol’ murder. Last time, Clytemnestra, sick of her abusive and philandering husband, strait up axed Agamemnon, just like J.Lo in the movie Enough.
Now The Curse is moving its ugly eye onto the next generation, ol’ Cly and Aggie’s kiddies. Well meaning, but none too intelligent, Orestes is off on the other coast attending college. His admission was pretty much guaranteed by his skills with the discus. His younger sister, Electra, is stuck at home.
“Matricide, huh? Can’t be harder than beating state.” -Orestes
Previously on The House of Atreus, ol’ Queen Clytemnestra got quite a shock when her husband killed their oldest child, just so he could keep his appointment for the Trojan War. It was, after all, the second time Agamemnon had slaughtered her offspring, so she decided she was done sitting around the house moping. Cly didn’t want to be some lowly female background character anymore. She was going to be a star!
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” -Clytemnestra
CLYTEMNESTRA GETS EVEN
Upon returning home to Argos, waiting out Agamemnon’s return in a chaste stupor for the next ten years was about the last thing on Cly’s mind. So, she downloaded the hot new dating app REVENGR, which presented you with a selection of potential matches with whom you shared mutual enemies on Foebook. Her girlfriend Medea had turned her onto it (it was all the rage, at the time).
When last we left our heroes, they were heading off to beat those women-snatching Trojans into a good ol’ foreign pulp. Yup, Helen had escaped, and because she was the only woman for Menelaus, the entire nation of Greeks (newly formed) were going after her.
There was trouble on the way to Troy. See, Agamemnon had become a super powerful King, and now that he was ruling over all these other Kings, he felt like he wasn’t beholden to anyone. This was called hubris, and inevitably meant that you were about to run afoul of some god. Agamemnon had it coming in spades.
Sure enough, he went a-hunting and shot this deer in a grove that was sacred to Artemis. She was livid. I mean, Agamemnon’s father had already tried to pull the wool over her eyes, so this was the last straw.
“I’m sure the gods wouldn’t mind, it’s me, after all.” -Agamemnon
As punishment, she changed the winds so that all the ships got stuck in the port at Aulis. Since there were one thousand ships, all bursting with warrior types, it was a recipe for disaster. Imagine if your wagon train in Oregon Trail got stuck, and you weren’t allowed to hunt for food! Eventually, Agamemnon consulted his seer, and learned he would have to sacrifice his oldest daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the gods.
Previously on The House of Atreus, Thyestes and his son/grandson, Aegisthus, wreaked revenge for the cannibalistic consumption of their kin, by their kin. They exiled the royal heirs of Argos, Agamemnon and Menelaus, to Sparta.
Sparta was a fantastic spot for exiled warrior princes, as the aging King of Sparta was unlucky enough to have engendered mere daughters. Due to the proliferation of total babes, not only did Agamemnon and Menelaus manage to become good friends, but they also secured advantageous marriages.
Agamemnon and Menelaus on their way to therapy.
To get the whole story, start here, at part 1!
Hippodamia and Pelops, after getting their happily ever after, had a brood of children. So many, in fact, that they had to go out and conquer all the lands in what become known as the Peloponnese. The best of frenemies to come out of this litter were the brothers Atreus and Thyestes, who ruled over the Kingdom of Argos. Thyestes adored playing tricks on his older brother Atreus. Some of his favorite pranks were things like seducing his wife and plotting for the throne.
Thyestes and Atreus try to play nicely.
Here’s the thing about the House of Atreus – they’re all traumatized. Yes, even more so than most mythological characters. It was not a nice family. Cattier even than the Kardashians, their specialties included incest, murder, and cannibalism. More than anything else, though, they had a problem with revenge.
A typical childhood under the curse of Atreus.