Spotlighting an endless cycle of bloodshed that consumes a royal family, "Elektra" masterfully explores the causes of hatred and the consequences of revenge - both for those who bear the brunt of violence and for those consumed by its influence. Orestes has returned to his homeland intent on exacting a bloody vengeance upon its rulers: his mother Klytemnestra and his step-father Aegisthus, who together murdered Orestes' father, Agamemnon. The prince's sister, Elektra, has long awaited his return, fueding constantly with Klytemnestra over her mother's moral justifications for killing Agamemnon - an act that, Klytemnestra insists, was itself a retaliation for an earlier wrong. The more they debate the validity of Agamemnon's murder, however, the more Elektra herself becomes overwhelmed by an obsession with revenge. Finally, as Orestes sets his plan into motion, the cycle of bloodshed will renew itself once more, claiming the lives of some and the very humanity of others before the drama is complete. This phenomenal translation by Robert Bagg achieves an accurate but idiomatic rendering of the Greek original that is suited for reading, teaching, or performing.
Sure to strike a chord with contemporary audiences, this is Sophocles for a new generation.