In the Oresteia - the only trilogy in Greek drama which survives from antiquity - Aeschylus took as his subject the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos.
Moving from darkness to light, from rage to self-governance, from primitive ritual to civilized institution, its spirit of struggle and regeneration is eternal.
About The Author
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.
Though it's tempting to imagine the late English poet laureate's long tortured relationship with the image of (his wife) feminist heroine Sylvia Plath as its subtext, this vivid free-verse translation of Aeschylus' dark and bloody tragic trilogy (comprising Agamemnon, Choephori, and Eumenides) more properly evinces Hughes's wide range of interests and mastery of classic literatures. His nearly conversational rhythms produce an arresting mixture of colloquialism and formality, enlivened by strong imagery (as in the matricidal Orestes' declaration that "This house has been the goblet / That the demon of homicide, unquenchable, / Has loved to drain"), and only infrequently weakened by astonishing woodenness - as in Clytemnestra's cool reply to the Chorus who lament her murder of her husband: "You think I'm an irresponsible woman? / You are making a mistake"). Perhaps not the ultimate "acting edition" it claims to be, but, still, an essential further installment in the always interesting oeuvre of a gifted poet who was also a diligent scholar. (Kirkus Reviews)
|A Reading of 'The Oresteia': The Serpent and the Eagle||p. 13|
|The Libation Bearers||p. 173|
|The Eumenides||p. 227|
|The Genealogy of Orestes||p. 279|
|Select Bibliography||p. 281|
|The Libation Bearers||p. 305|
|The Eumenides||p. 317|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 1st April 1978
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.2 x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.24
Edition Number: 1