Out of the Wings

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LOS RESTOS: Agamenón vuelve a casa (1996), Raúl Hernández Garrido

English title: THE REMAINS: Agamemnon Comes Home
Date written: 1996
Keywords: family, family > mothers and daughters, family > parents and children, identity > sexuality, morality > justice-revenge, morality > punishment, violence > murder, power > use and abuse
Genre and type: tragedy, magic realism

A modern-day Agamemnon comes home. He has been away for a long time, having abandoned his wife and daughter years ago. Now, Agamemnon must pay the price for disappearing. Agamemnon Comes Home takes us on a journey through murder, guilt and regret, as a broken man confronts the consequences of his long absence.


After brutally murdering her mother and her mother’s lover, a Girl sits alone in blood-stained clothes. Unaware of what has taken place, a Vagrant comes to the door. He claims he was once an old friend of the Girl’s father, who disappeared 15 years before. Since his disappearance, the Girl has never given up hope that her father would return to rescue her from the mother she so hated.

The Girl gives the Vagrant a glowing description of her father. In the Girl’s mind, it was her mother who drove her father away, thus condemning her to a life without a protector. Fragmented monologues, delivered by a modern-day Electra, recall how the mother dominated the Girl, never letting her out of her sight. She repressed the Girl’s sexuality, all the while flaunting her own. Later, one of the mother’s lovers started to abuse the Girl. It was only a matter of time before something snapped.

The Vagrant also abandoned his wife and daughter. His story is revealed through monologues and through conversations with the Girl. It is the sad tale of a contemporary Agamemnon who felt compelled by some unknown force to close his front door one day and never return. He tries to defend the Girl’s mother against the vitriol hurled at her, knowing something of what it must have been like for her to have been left alone with a young child. Agamemnon’s monologues reveal that he cheated on his wife. It was just on one occasion, but he was sure that his wife knew. Later, therefore, when he caught her in bed with another man, he said nothing. He left the house and ended up a drunken vagrant on the streets. He admits that he was angry, but refrained from taking any revenge on his wife. Electra, in contrast, describes the brutal punishment she meted out to her mother and her mother’s lover. While they were entwined together in bed, Electra stabbed them to death.

In between the strange monologues delivered by Agamemnon and Electra, the Vagrant and the Girl continue to talk. The Girl is at times distant, at other times aggressively paranoid about the presence of the Vagrant. Eventually, he asks about her blood-stained hands. He realises the horror that awaits him in the bedroom – the bodies of a naked woman and her lover, both lying bloodied and lifeless.

The Vagrant is horrified at what the Girl has done. She, however, believes that she has carried out her duty. The Girl claims that, were her father to return, he would be proud of her for avenging him. Finally, the characters are forced to confront the truth that has been simmering under the surface throughout the play – that they are father and daughter. The Vagrant now realises the consequences of his decision to leave home all those years before. He has returned too late, and resolves to set off again wandering the streets. The Girl, however, has no intention of letting her father abandon her again. She believes her matricide has somehow mysteriously brought her father home to her, and insists that they will be together forever.

The play ends with two songs. Agamemnon’s lament is one of regret, a realisation that by his return he has lost much more than he has gained. Electra sings of the blood of her victims and her father’s anger. She reflects on the strange pathways of fate that have brought her father home to her.


This play borrows elements from the trilogy of tragedies written by the Greek writer Aeschylus which make up the Oresteia. In the first of these tragedies, Agamemnon, the title character returns home, only to be murdered by his wife Clytemnestra. In The Libation Bearers, Electra urges and convinces her brother Orestes to kill their mother in revenge for their father’s death. Hernández alters the tale, so that his Agamemnon returns home too late to save his daughter and his wife from their respective fates as murderer and victim.

Critical response

The play was awarded the Rojas Zorrilla prize in 1996. It has been the subject of a number of studies which take different perspectives on the way in which the playwright has incorporated tales from Aeschylus’s Oresteia trilogy of plays into his own work. Diana de Paco Serrano, for example, explores how Hernández does not try to recreate myths in this play and others, but rather uses them as points of departure, to explore psychological states and perennial aspects of humanity such as sex and death (Hernández Garrido 2009: 25).

  • Hernández Garrido, Raúl. 2009. Los esclavos. Los malditos; Los engranajes; LOS RESTOS: Agamenón vuelve a casa; LOS RESTOS: Fedra. Madrid, Teatro del Astillero. Essay by Diana de Paco Serrano originally published in 2003 as ‘Agamenón y Electra: La conciencia rota del mito’. In La tragedia de Agamenón en el teatro español del siglo XX. Murcia, Universidad de Murcia (in Spanish)


Entry written by Gwynneth Dowling. Last updated on 13 October 2011.

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