An Oresteia: Agamemnon by Aiskhylos; Elektra by Sophokles; Orestes by Euripides (Google eBook)
A Bold, Iconoclastic New Look at One of the Great Works of Greek Tragedy In this innovative rendition of The Oresteia, the poet, translator, and essayist Anne Carson combines three different visions—Aischylos’ Agamemnon, Sophokles’ Elektra, and Euripides’ Orestes—giving birth to a wholly new experience of the classic Greek triumvirate of vengeance. After the murder of her daughter Iphegenia by her husband Agamemnon, Klytaimestra exacts a mother’s revenge, murdering Agamemnon and his mistress, Kassandra. Displeased with Klytaimestra’s actions, Apollo calls on her son, Orestes, to avenge his father’s death with the help of his sister Elektra. In the end, Orestes, driven mad by the Furies for his bloody betrayal of family, and Elektra are condemned to death by the people of Argos, and must justify their actions—signaling a call to change in society, a shift from the capricious governing of the gods to the rule of manmade law. Carson’s accomplished rendering combines elements of contemporary vernacular with the traditional structures and rhetoric of Greek tragedy, opening up the plays to a modern audience. In addition to its accessibility, the wit and dazzling morbidity of her prose sheds new light on the saga for scholars. Anne Carson’s Oresteia is a watershed translation, a death-dance of vengeance and passion not to be missed.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Ah, it kills me to do this: An Oresteia is not that great. What it wants to be is great. It wants to weave the three great Greek tragedians (Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides) into a collaboration about the House of Atreus that will allow its readers to get a feel for all three, as well as a coherent story. And by a terrific poet and translator, to boot! Sweet! And it gets off to a promising start, too, with a terrific rendition of Agamemnon. I've read two other translations - Fagles and Hughes - and this one stands up just fine with them. Closer to Fagles: more accessible than Hughes, with the occasional terrific punch of a line that people never seem to acknowledge when they talk about Fagles. But it goes downhill from there. Elektra just isn't Sophocles' best; it's a retelling of Aeschylus's Libation Bearers, and it's not as good. Not the fault of the translation, just the way it is. And by the time we get to Euripides' Orestes...I kinda felt like Carson was losing interest. Euripides is a brilliant playwright - sly, nasty, modern, complicated and brash - but Carson picks up on his impish habit of upending themes and tropes and takes it as simple mischief, instead of the deadly serious commentary Euripides intended it to be. She includes modernizations that are badly out of place. (I marked one or two, but my book's not with me - will try to get them in later.) So in the end I think Carson's Oresteia more or less fails. It's fine to read, but its goals are higher than its reach.
Review: An OresteiaUser Review - Goodreads
Anne Carson is a master of modern translation. These ancient texts come alive with these new translations. What a fantastic Oresteia!