ESSAY: Sophocles' Elektra asks the question: what happens to a person who fails to formulate for himself who her revenge is directed at and why? Is it the need for revenge that drives us, the urge to punish someone who has ruined for us? And what about young, religious terrorists today who, out of love for the "ruler," perform cruel rituals and rites?

Published: September 6, 2020

One fall my husband and I were on the Greek island of Sifnos, one day I heard a young lady shout, "Elektra!" A little girl of five or six years answered a flimsy "yes" a little further up the road. She was squeezed up against a car. The cry made me think of the literary Elektra, that she is shaped so vividly by Sophocles in the drama that she could have stood there in a Greek everyday life. The chef in the restaurant where we ate was called Aristotle. He had goats, and perhaps part of his flock was constantly crossing the road, meandering around the island in steep slopes. Past and present, myth and everyday life, and the thought of how they lived there, then and now,…

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