The Oresteia

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Penguin, 1984 - Drama - 335 pages
These plays embody Aeschylus' concerns with the destiny and fate of both individuals and the state, all played out under the watchful eye of the gods.

In "Agamemnon, the warrior who defeated Troy returns to Argos and is murdered by his wife Clytemnestra for sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia before the Trojan War.

In "The Libation Bearers" (Choephoroi), Orestes, Agamemnon's som, avenges his father by murdering his mother.

In "The Furies" (Eumenides), Orestes flees to Delphi, pursued by the divine avengers (Erinyes) of his mother. After being purified by Apollo, he makes his way to Athens and is there tried (and acquitted) at the court of Areopagus.

 

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Contents

THE SERPENT AND THE EAGLE
13
AGAMEMNON
99
THE LIBATION BEARERS
173
THE EUMENIDES
227
THE GENEALOGY OF ORESTES
279
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
281
NOTES
285
THE LIBATION BEARERS
305
THE EUMENIDES
317
GLOSSARY
331
Copyright

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About the author (1984)

Aeschylus was born of a noble family near Athens in 525 BC. He took part in the Persian Wars and his epitaph, said to have been written by himself, represents him as fighting at Marathon. At some time in his life he appears to have been prosecuted for divulging the Eleusinian mysteries, but he apparently proved himself innocent. Aeschylus wrote more than seventy plays, of which seven have survived: The Suppliants, The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, Prometheus Bound, Agamemnon, The Choephori, and The Eumenides. (All are translated for Penguin Classics.) He visited Syracuse more than once at the invitation of Hieron I and he died at Gela in Sicily in 456 BC. Aeschylus was recognized as a classic writer soon after his death, and special privileges were decreed for his plays.

Robert Fagles (1933-2008) was Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He was the recipient of the 1997 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His translations include Sophocles’s Three Theban Plays, Aeschylus’s Oresteia (nominated for a National Book Award), Homer’s Iliad (winner of the 1991 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award by The Academy of American Poets), Homer’s Odyssey, and Virgil's Aeneid.

 

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