Aeschylus: The Oresteia (Landmarks of World Literature by Simon Goldhill

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By Simon Goldhill

This can be the single basic creation in English to Aeschylus' Oresteia, some of the most very important and such a lot influential of all Greek dramas. It discusses the Greek drama pageant and the social and political history of Greek tragedy, and provides a examining of this primary trilogy. Simon Goldhill specializes in the play's topics of justice, sexual politics, violence, and the placement of guy inside of tradition, and explores how Aeschylus constructs a fantasy for the town within which he lived. a last bankruptcy considers the impression of the Oresteia on later theatre. Its transparent constitution and consultant to extra analyzing will make this a useful advisor for college students and academics alike.

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Extra resources for Aeschylus: The Oresteia (Landmarks of World Literature (New))

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810–16): To Argos first and to the gods of the land It is right (dik¯e) I give due greeting; they have worked with me To bring me home. They helped me on the vengeance (dik¯e) I have wrought On Priam’s city. Not from the tongues of men the gods Heard justice (dik-) but in one unhesitating cast they laid Their votes within the urn of blood. 32 THE ORESTEIA The triple repetition of dik¯e and dikaios (the adjective from dik¯e) in three consecutive lines is strongly marked. In the first instance, dik¯e seems to imply a general standard of correct behaviour for the king with regard to the gods (‘It is right .

Aegisthus is the first example of human behaviour discussed in the Odyssey. Orestes kills the usurper just as Telemachus and Odysseus will kill the usurping The Oresteia 45 suitors. Clytemnestra is called ‘deceptive’ and in this capacity aids the plan of Agamemnon’s death: so in Book 24 – finally and only there – she is said by a bitter Agamemnon to have killed her husband. But otherwise she is represented as a passive figure in the narrative of seduction and destruction. Penelope, for all her guile, is sent upstairs to wait in her room, while the men downstairs struggle for control of the oikos.

This is what I meant earlier when I talked of tragedy dramatizing different and competing ideals, different and competing senses of words. Aeschylus shows not how ‘the problem of Dik¯e is solved’, but The Oresteia 33 rather how problems remain inherently active in the ambiguities and difficulties of the term itself. This leads to an important, more general argument. What the two passages above show is how different characters at different times in the trilogy appeal to dik¯e as a criterion, support or reason for action.

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