Throughout the ages of literature, darkness has often been used as symbolic in representation for evil, concealment, and blindness. In the opening of Agamemnon, the darkness that consumed the scene was used for effect in order to convey indirectly, themes of evil, concealment, and blindness.
The theme of evil was clearly supported by the actions of the character. The play was one of murder and revenge, both of which are traditionally sinful in nature. Agamemnon is murdered in the play by his wife Clytaemestra, who does so in hopes of avenging the death of her daughter, among other reasons. Clytaemestras daughter was killed in an act of sacrifice by Agamemnon, ironically, in hopes of ending a cycle of revenge already out of hand within the families of Agamemnon and his enemy Aegisthus. Although justice can skeptically be looked at as a noble cause, in that traditionally justice represents the protection of all that is good, it seems evident that evil still plays a part in motivating one to kill. Hence the symbolic darkness of night present in the opening scene of the play, foreshadowing the death of Agamemnon, and Clytaemestras conversion to the dark-side of hatred and revenge.
Another commonly used significance of darkness is that of concealment. When a soldier wishes to hide his actions from an enemy, it is typically said that he will do so under the cover of darkness. Just as a soldier used darkness to hide his actions, so has the characters of Clytaemestra. Secretly while Agamemnon was away fighting in the Trojan War, Clytaemestra carried out an affair with Agamemnons sworn enemy, Aegisthus. Agamemnon knows nothing of this affair and upon his return he is greeted with an overjoyed and welcoming Clytaemestra. Clytaemestra proceeded to inform Agamemnon that she had resisted all of the great many suitors who had propositioned her in his absence. Clytaemestra conveniently mentions nothing of her affair, clearly hiding the truth from her husband. The darkness of the opening twilight gives an early warning that just as light is hidden in darkness, so will a truth (the affair) be hidden in the actions of the play.
In addition to being used to convey thoughts of evil and concealment, darkness is also used to symbolize blindness. In the scene of the play where Clytaemestra greets Agamemnon and proceeds to tell him of her resistance of the many suitors, it is clear to the audience that she is lying. The audience knew then and the reader knows today, that Clytaemestras display in these scenes is clearly a facade. However, Agamemnon does not see this. The audience feels sorrow for Agamemnwhy cani sighI need some oe to to help me out of this and talk to to kon, as he knows not what has gone on behind his back and that eventually he will pay the price of this life for this. Agamemnon is completely without distrust and skepticism when he returns to his kingdom from the war. He suspects no one of deceit and thoughts of his own wife plotting his death could not be farther from his mind. Agamemnon was blind to his impending demise, blinded by the darkness of an unconditional trust, and a dangerous level of pride. Feelings of sadness and pity are brought out in the audience for this, as they know that Agamemnon feels he has no reason to distrust Clytaemestra.
During the opening of Agamemnon, night has befallen the scene. Its significance is revealed it seems, only after much attention and thought. In actuality, the darkness of the opening scene reveals some of the most important themes in the play and its inclusion is far from accidental. The darkness represents themes of evil, concealment, and blindness. Each of the preceding themes is carefully interwoven within the storyline of the play and is very important to the overall understanding of the story.