Character List


Zeus/Jupiter Depending on the translation you are reading, this character's name will be either Zeus (the Greek name) or Jupiter (the Roman name). He is the chief of the gods, who is said to be the son of Chronus (Saturn) and Rhea (Ops); he was educated on Mt. Ida in Crete in a cave and nourished with goat milk from Amalthaea. He conquered the Titans while he was still young, and in this play, Zeus/Jupiter represents God.

Orestes Son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. His sister, Electra, saves him from being murdered by his mother (who murdered his father, Agamemnon). He later avenges his father's death by killing his mother, and he is the true hero of the play. He is the mouthpiece for the ideas which Sartre wishes to stress.

Electra Daughter of Agamemnon, king of Argos, and sister of Orestes. She persuades her brother to avenge the murder of their father by killing Clytemnestra. In this play, she ends up adopting Zeus' attitude and, as a result, is a traitor to the cause of the family. Sartre shows her as a woman to be pitied and hated.

Clytemnestra Wife of Agamemnon, king of Argos. During his absence at the Trojan War, she misconducts herself with his cousin Aegistheus. When Agamemnon returns from the war (this happens before The Flies), she murders him and ascends to the throne of Argos. Her son, Orestes, after an absence of several years, returns home to avenge his father's death. It is Orestes, whose presence causes her remorse, who makes her realize that one must act according to one's convictions.

Aegistheus Cousin of Agamemnon. He is an enemy of freedom and implicates himself in the crimes of Clytemnestra so that he may enjoy and usurp power. In order to make himself feared by people, he invents lies. Sartre shows how suffering and pain are inflicted on people who are against freedom; this suffering comes in the form of other people's opinions of them; by the end of the play, Aegistheus is disgusted by his own image.

The Tutor/Pedagogue Again, the name of this character depends on which translation you are using. He falls into the group which Sartre labels "stones": He refuses to commit himself to an action, he has no convictions, his attitude is neutral, he is satisfied with the status quo; in short, he is the kind of character whom Sartre deems to be unnoble. He is intelligent, sees things logically, and offers reasoning with a certain elegance; for this, Sartre has less scorn for him than for Electra, who is weak, trembling and cowardly.

The Furies These are the goddesses of vengeance, of remorse. In Roman mythology, they are called the "Furies," whereas in Greek, the name used is the "Eumenides," or the "Erinyes."