When Sophocles wrote Electra's story, he gave her a sister, Chrysothemis. In their two scenes together, the sisters warn, entreat, cajole, insult, spar with, and proclaim affection for each other. While Electra maintains her public mourning for their father Agamemnon, Chrysothemis chooses not to openly defy his murderers, Aegisthus and their mother Clytemnestra, believing that resistance that accomplishes nothing is futile. Time has not been kind to this more pragmatic sister. In English-language criticism, she has acquired her own epithet, ‘timid’; her femininity has been dismissed as vacuous and her morality as driven by material self-interest. For many critics, she is a shallow and conventional figure whose main purpose is to act as a foil to the exceptional Electra. Since the pairing of a ‘stronger’ and a ‘weaker’ sister recurs in the depiction of Antigone and Ismene in Sophocles’ Antigone, this portrait of two contrasting sisters has been recognised since antiquity as distinctively Sophoclean, and the corresponding reduction of the sister–sister bond to a template has frequently precluded deeper examination of this relationship in both plays.