In Greek mythology, Electra (or Elektra) was a Mycenean princess, the daughter of King Agamemnon, who led the Greeks against the Trojans. According to the myth, her mother Clytemnestra became the lover of Agamemnon's cousin, Aegisthus, and together they succeeded in murdering Agamemnon when he returned home from the war. Electra managed to hide her younger brother Orestes from the two, but for years was subjected to constant abuse at the hands of her mother and Aegisthus. She was even forced to marry a humble man, who pitied her and would not ruin her virtue. Electra would continually remind Clytemnestra of her crime, bringing flowers and tokens to Agamemnon's grave daily within view of the queen.
Electra was reunited with Orestes years later, and goaded him into taking revenge for their father by killing Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. The pair succeeds, but for committing matricide the siblings were tormented by the Furies - living embodiments of guilt and punishment. Electra and Orestes are nearly driven mad, forced to wander around Greece until they were finally pardoned by Apollo and Athena.
Though her actions were virtuous, they were done without understanding of God or His will. As such, damned to Hell, Electra serves her punishment, which is to finally know the wrath of God and Lucifer, whom she was ignorant of while she was alive.
- In The Inferno, Electra is one of the many virtuous pagan souls whom Dante meets while traveling through Limbo.
- She is the heroine of a play by Sophocles that bears her name.
- In Jungian psychology, there is a condition named after her: the Electra complex. It is the reversed gender version of the Oedipus complex, in which a daughter lusts for her father, and seeks to eliminate or replace her mother. This is something of a misnomer; in the original myth Electra had never lusted for nor had sexual relations with her father, Agamemnon, and was not motivated to kill her mother for such a reason. She was instead motivated by years of abuse and the concept of miasma - a blood curse caused by the killing of others. Miasma haunts those of the deceased's family unless that wrongful death is avenged, hence Electra's determination that Clytemnestra die for the king's murder. The mythological figure more fitting to the Electra complex profile was Myrrha, another of the Damned found in Hell to be absolved or condemned by Dante. She is placed lower in Hell for fraudulence (tricking her father into sleeping with her by means of a disguise).