CLYTEMNESTRA, having killed her husband, Agamemnon, marries AEgistbus. Electra, the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, mourning the fate of her father, waits the return of Orestes, her brother, as the avenger of her father's death.
Orestes, in order to deceive AEgistbus, sends a messenger to say that he has been killed at the Olympic games. As a proof of this report the messenger takes with him an urn containing what are supposed to be the ashes of Orestes and gives it to Electra.
From the "Electra" of Sopbocles we take Electra's lament over the urn containg her brother's ashes:
"O monument of him dearest to me among mankind, relic of the living Orestes, with hopes how changed from those with which I once sent thee forth, do I receive thee back! For now I bear thee in my hands, a nothing; but from thine home, and in a foreign land an exile, miserably hast thou perishd, away from thy sister ; nor with loving hands have I prepared the bath for thy body, nor from the all-consuming pyre borne away the bapless burden with accustomed rites. No, but cared for by stranger hands thou art come; a little weight in a little urn."