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Clytemnestra (klĪˌtəmnĕsˈtrə) [key], in Greek mythology, the daughter of Leda and Tyndareus. Homer described her as the noble-minded wife of Agamemnon, persuaded to infidelity by the tyrant Aegisthus. However, the Greek tragedians, most specifically Aeschylus, depicted her as remorseless and vengeful. She was the mother by Agamemnon of Orestes, Electra, and Iphigenia. She conspired with Aegisthus to murder Agamemnon on his return from the Trojan War, giving various justifications, most notably the sacrifice of Iphigenia by Agamemnon at the onset of the war. Orestes, who had been living in exile, returned and revenged the death of his father by killing his mother and Aegisthus.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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