Welcome To The Harem
This Is Agamemnon by Vanzetti
Summary: Anasazi missing scene. Teena Mulder POV.
Title: This is Agamemnon
Feedback and questions welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Category: Anasazi missing scene. Teena Mulder pov.
Disclaimer: The X-Files universe is the property of Fox, 10-13 and Carter.
Summary: Teena Mulder makes a decision.
Thanks are owed to Maidenjedi for beta.
Author's notes: A knowledge of Greek mythology and tragedy is going to be
helpful here. Explanatory notes at end.
She hung up and stared at the phone. Bill had been so desperate, so
determined. "I have to tell Fox. It isn't too late."
No, she thought, it was too late. It had been too late years ago when he
had persuaded her to let him sacrifice their daughter.
In Teena Mulder's final year at prep school the winter play had been a
Greek tragedy: Aeschylus' Agamemnon. She played the title role. The play
didn't make much sense to them. Or rather, the play itself made sense:
Nancy Williams, who played Agamemnon's wife Clytemnestra and was the most
popular girl in school, indicated her support for her character. "She was
right to kill him. He murdered their daughter! And then, after ten years
at Troy, he brings home his mistress." All the girls agreed.
It was the rest that was confusing: why Agamemnon had agreed to sacrifice
Iphigenia in the first place, just to reach Troy. She can remember
watching the chorus acting out the sacrifice and turning to Miss Harwood,
the drama teacher. "But why did he agree to kill his own daughter? Why
did he have to go to Troy, if that was the cost?"
Miss Harwood had no answer. She attempted a little speech about honor and
duty, but Teena could tell that her heart wasn't in it.
Her best friend at Bryn Mawr explained it differently, outside one night
under the stars, cigarette smoke sinking into their cashmere sweaters. "It
was all about the men," she said. "Clytemnestra, Iphigenia, Cassandra,
they weren't the real story. Aegisthus had to kill Agamemnon, because of
what Atreus did to Aegisthus' father, making him eat his own children.
It's all about the curse on the descendents of Tantalus. The male
descendents, of course." She gestured with a lipstick-stained cigarette.
"The women were just tools. Let that be a lesson to us all."
Years later she heard another speech, not about honor or duty but about
survival and sacrifice. Maybe Agamemnon had also believed that if he
didn't sacrifice his daughter, the Trojans would come and burn Mycenae to
Maybe they would, and maybe they wouldn't. He had, Teena thought,
destroyed himself as well as the Trojans. Whose vengeance had it been, in
the play, when Agamemnon was struck down? Aegisthus? Clytemnestra? Did
it even matter?
Had she too sat up late, waiting for the sun to rise, hating herself for
the decision she had let her husband make?
"I can't go on," Bill had said. "I have to tell Fox. He's going to find
out anyway..." She had cursed him and hung up before he could say anything
else. He had already sacrificed one of her children. That was enough.
She lifted the phone again and dialed a familiar number. "Charles," she
said. "I've just spoken to Bill. He says he's going to tell Fox
everything. Charles, you're going to have to take care of it."
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"You question me as if I were a thoughtless woman,
but I speak with unshaken heart to those
who understand. Whether you with to praise me or to blame,
it is the same to me. This is Agamemnon, my husband,
now a corpse, the work of this right hand of mine,
as justice for my child..."
Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 1401-1406.
In Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus kill her
husband Agamemnon when he returns from Troy. In the play, Clytemnestra's
desire for revenge is emphasized: she kills Agamemnon because he sacrificed
their eldest daughter Iphigenia to Artemis, to allow the Greek fleet to
sail to Troy. But Agamemnon's murder is overdetermined: Clytemnestra's
lover is also Agamemnon's first cousin, the only surviving son of Thyestes,
the brother of Agamemnon's father Atreus. Atreus had murdered Thyestes'
other sons and fed their bodies to Thyestes, so Aegisthus was fated to kill
Clytemnestra and Agamemnon had a son, Orestes. When Orestes grew up he
came back to Mycenae and killed Clytemnestra and Aegisthus in revenge for
his father's death.
In one version of the story, Artemis spared Iphigenia's life at the last
moment and sent her to live as a priestess among the Tauroi, far away from
Greece. She was found there and rescued by Orestes and his faithful
Why does Artemis demand that Agamemnon sacrifice his daughter in order to
get to Troy? The best explanation I ever heard was this: if Agamemnon
wishes to be the kind of man who will destroy the city of Troy, he must
first become the kind of man who can sacrifice his eldest daughter.
"A heavy doom if I do not obey,
but heavy, too, if
I kill my daughter, the glory of my house,
staining a father's hands
with spurts of maiden-slaying blood before
the altar. Which of these is without evil?
How can I become a deserter of ships,
betraying those who fight alongside me?"
Aeschylus, Agamemnon, 206-213.
Translations my own.
25 July, 2002