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!
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).
Eventually, she came across Aegisthus, and recognized him from all the wanted posters plastered around the realm (since he had helped murder Atreus, her father-in-law). With her little bad-boy-loving heart all a flutter, they started chatting. As it turned out, they both had a death wish for Agamemnon, and the conversation really flowed. They decided to meet up in person.
“So,” began Aegisthus, “Have you been on many of these online dates?”
“Yeah, a few,” said Cly, “But it seems like most of the guys I meet online have such a shallow hatred in mind. They just don’t get my need for deep and powerful loathing…”
“I so hear you. Like, I’m working with a multi-generational curse situation here! I’m not interested in some sob story about how your husband left for the war and you’re stuck at home with the kids, just trying to have a bit of fun. I’m the last surviving child of my line!”
“Exactly! My daughter was brutally sacrificed. Right in front of me! People just can’t wrap their heads around that.”
“You know, I did hear about that whole thing, and I have to say that while I was sorry to hear it, I wasn’t exactly surprised. Agamemnon can be such a prick.”
“He really, really can,” said Clytemnestra, quaffing her wine.
“Would you like another glass?”
They were a great pair. They had so much in common! Traumatic teenage years, complicated inter-familial politics, codependent tendencies, and murderous intent. It was a match made in Hades, so they moved in together right away.
For the next ten years Aegisthus lived openly and shamelessly in the palace with the Queen. Everyone in town knew what was going down, but all the warriors were gone, so they couldn’t do a thing about it. Cly liked it that way. Besides, all the women were secretly proud of her for jumping back on the horse so quickly.
But all wars end, and the warriors come home, wrecking an awesome time for women who like to do things like: walk in public unsupervised. Agamemnon returned from Troy, all blustered up with victory, and attached to some foreign girl named Cassandra.
Cassandra was both beautiful and intelligent, aka a dangerous woman. She was also a prophetess, and a Princess of Troy, which made it even worse. In her youth, she had been a priestess of Apollo, and pledged herself to a life of chastity.
Apollo had other ideas. He was completely besotted, so he asked her if she’d like to grab drinks sometime. She politely declined, but he kept calling and texting and wouldn’t leave her alone. Being a god, he wasn’t used to rejection. Eventually, he got desperate and offered her the gift of prophecy should she decide to sleep with him. This intrigued her, so she agreed to go on a few dates.
Although Apollo did have a tendency to talk about himself, he was the god of music and poetry, so he knew how to woo. He pulled out all the stops for Cassandra; played his lyre at her, took her to the nicest restaurant on Olympus, and even got her into a sweet VIP show.
Soon, it came time that their third date had passed, and Apollo started expecting nooky.
“Soooo, should we go back to my place then?”
“Listen, Apollo, I’ve had a really nice time these past few nights, but I just don’t feel ready to give up the whole life of chastity thing. Can’t I dedicate my soul to you in a Temple?”
“Oh no you don’t. I haven’t been buying all this cool stuff for you for no reason. You owe me something!”
“God, why do you Trojan women always have to make this so hard? We made a deal. I gave you prophecy, now you’re going to have to put out.”
“If you really feel that way, you can just take your prophecy back! I don’t want it anyway!”
“I have a better idea,” said Apollo, “I’ll make everyone think you’re crazy. I’ve been meaning to try this out! What do you think I should call it? I like ‘gaslighting’, you?”
He bestowed on her the gift of future sight, alright, but by spitting in her mouth, he caused everyone to believe she was either lying or raving mad. She was doomed for a lifetime of telling the truth and having no one believe her. So, only nominally worse than a great many ladies in the ancient myths.
Anyway, during the Fall of Troy she got kidnapped and taken as concubine by Agamemnon. As she stepped off the ship onto the shore of a land completely foreign to her, she began to see all the sordid deeds that had once occurred, and also those which had yet to come.
“Agie, dear, are you sure you want to go into the palace right now? Your wife, she seems none too pleased to see you.”
“You’re worried about ol’ Cly? Don’t be silly. She’s as docile as a sheep. Look! She’s even brought out the nice tapestries for us to walk on during the victory parade.”
“No really, I can’t help feeling like something is off. Who’s that guy standing behind her?”
“I’m sure it’s no one, pet, now do come along. I’m dying to get in the bath.”
“Oh Agie, I wish you wouldn’t talk like that!”
Sure enough, while the couple was washing the dirt and fatigue of their journey away, Clytemnestra snuck in. Like a more bad ass version of Lady Macbeth, she hacked them both to death with a hatchet.
The doors of the house flew open, as if by divine intervention, and Clytemnestra was revealed standing triumphantly over their bodies, blood dripping from the blade of her ax. Nonchalant, she hoisted her weapon, and broke into a rousing rendition of “Cell Block Tango.” A chorus even jumped in to help her out (“He had it coming!”). Since her dance moves involved swinging the ax around in a threatening manner, everyone in attendance gave a standing ovation.
After the final bows, Aegisthus showed up and proclaimed himself King. Clytemnestra just rolled her eyes, and went off to have a word with the playwright.
“Aeschylus! Do you really mean to tell me that we are calling this thing the Agamemnon?! You can’t be serious. All he does is show up and die! How do you think Medea would have taken it if Euripides titled her play the Jason? She would have flamed him on the spot! I’m too big of a star to have to deal with this kind of treatment.”
And so on.
Next time on The House of Atreus, Introducing Orestes! Featuring, a music festival, how to deal with evil step-parents, and the Furies.