The Orestia

Front Cover
Dodo Press, 2008 - Drama - 144 pages
Aeschylus (525 BC-456 BC) was an ancient Greek playwright. He is often recognized as the father or the founder of tragedy, and is the earliest of the three Greek tragedians whose plays survive, the others being Sophocles and Euripides. Many of Aeschylusa€(TM) works were influenced by the Persian invasion of Greece, which took place during his lifetime. His play The Persians remains a quintessential primary source of information about this period in Greek history. He wrote some 70 to 90 plays, but only seven tragedies have survived intact: The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, The Suppliants, the trilogy known as The Orestia, consisting of the three tragedies Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides, and Prometheus Bound (whose authorship is disputed).

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2008)

Aeschylus was born at Eleusis of a noble family. He fought at the Battle of Marathon (490 b.c.), where a small Greek band heroically defeated the invading Persians. At the time of his death in Sicily, Athens was in its golden age. In all of his extant works, his intense love of Greece and Athens finds expression. Of the nearly 90 plays attributed to him, only 7 survive. These are The Persians (produced in 472 b.c.), Seven against Thebes (467 b.c.), The Oresteia (458 b.c.)---which includes Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides (or Furies) --- Suppliants (463 b.c.), and Prometheus Bound (c.460 b.c.). Six of the seven present mythological stories. The ornate language creates a mood of tragedy and reinforces the already stylized character of the Greek theater. Aeschylus called his prodigious output "dry scraps from Homer's banquet," because his plots and solemn language are derived from the epic poet. But a more accurate summation of Aeschylus would emphasize his grandeur of mind and spirit and the tragic dignity of his language. Because of his patriotism and belief in divine providence, there is a profound moral order to his plays. Characters such as Clytemnestra, Orestes, and Prometheus personify a great passion or principle. As individuals they conflict with divine will, but, ultimately, justice prevails. Aeschylus's introduction of the second actor made real theater possible, because the two could address each other and act several roles. His successors imitated his costumes, dances, spectacular effects, long descriptions, choral refrains, invocations, and dialogue. Swinburne's (see Vol. 1) enthusiasm for The Oresteia sums up all praises of Aeschylus; he called it simply "the greatest achievement of the human mind." Because of his great achievements, Aeschylus might be considered the "father of tragedy.

Bibliographic information