Cassandra

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Background Information:


Cassandra was born to King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her Greek name, Κασσάνδρα meant "she who entangles men" ("Cassandra"). She was the most beautiful among their daughters ("Cassandra in Greek Mythology"). Her beauty attracted the god, Apollo. Attempting to make Cassandra fall in love with him, Apollo granted her the gift of prophecy. Cassandra accepted Apollo as her teacher, but would not accept him as her lover. Apollo became angry and insulted so he placed a curse on Cassandra so that no one would believe her predictions until it was too late.


Cassandra in Agamemnon:


Agamemnon is the king of Argos. This myth was written by Aeschylus. It tells about Agamemnon's return home from the Trojan War. His wife, Clytemnestra awaits for him at home, planning to murder him. Clytemnestra wishes to kill him as revenge for sacrificing their daughter, Iphigenia, and also because during the ten years her husband was gone, she entered a relationship with Aegisthus, Agamemnon's own cousin. After the city of Troy fell, Agamemnon returned home with his concubine, Cassandra, who was a captured Trojan princess. Clytemnestra convinces Agamemnon to enter his palace on a purple carpet although he was at first reluctant because it would show he was excessively confident and arrogant. She later kills Agamemnon in the bath by entrapping him with a robe and hits him three times with an axe, or pélekys. He was murdered by Clytemnestra the same way an animal is sacrificed. Meanwhile, Cassandra debated whether to enter the palace to help Agamemnon or not since she knew she would face immediate death if she did, but eventually did enter knowing her fate of death was inevitable. Clytemnestra kills them both and is joined by the new king, Aegisthus (Collard).


Modern Influences:

Cassandra is mentioned in modern novels today such as Eric Shanower's Age of Bronze: Sacrifice and Lindsay Clarke's The Return From Troy. Another novel written by Christa Wolf, Kassandra, tells the story from Cassandra's point of view. Cassandra has also influenced characters on television shows such as Firefly and The X-Files. In the show, The X-Files, Cassandra is portrayed as a person who has been abducted by an alien that no one ever believed or was taken seriously ("Cassandra"). There was also a termed developed called the Cassandra metaphor, which is used when a truthful warning is made, but not believed ("Cassandra metaphor").

Work Cited:


"Cassandra". Wikipedia. March 7, 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassandra>.
"Cassandra in Greek Mythology". Loggia. March 7, 2010 <http://www.loggia.com/myth/cassandra.html>.
Collard "Oresteia". Wikipedia. February 19, 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oresteia>.
"Cassandra (metaphor)". Wikipedia. March 2, 2010 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassandra_(metaphor)>.

By: Susan Z.