Summary and Analysis The Choephori, or The Libation Bearers: Second Stasimon (Lines 583-648)



The chorus sing that the earth has many dangers — wild beasts, meteors, whirlwinds. None is more dangerous than human rashness and stubbornness, and most dangerous of all is the reckless passion of women.

There are many terrifying examples of the lengths to which women have gone when possessed by passion. Althea knew that her son Meleager could live only as long as a certain piece of wood was undamaged, but in a rage she burned the wood and killed him. Scylla caused the death of her father by cutting a sacred golden hair from his head in return for a gift given her by King Minos. The women of Lemnos joined together in a secret pact and massacred their husbands.

In the end, however, all these women were punished, for Right, aided by Destiny, always triumphs. Thus it will happen to Clytaemestra also. Even now, "Vengeance brings home at last / a child, to wipe out the stain of blood shed long ago."


This ode serves as a decorative interlude and source of diversion and relief for the audience, but it also makes some pointed comments of great dramatic relevance to the next few scenes.

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