Aeschylus Books


Easton Press Aeschylus books:

The Oresteia - 100 Greatest Books Ever Written

Franklin Library Aeschylus books:

Complete Plays of Aeschylus - Great Books of the Western World - 1978
The Oresteia - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1980
Greek Tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides - Oxford Library (published in both quarter bound and full leather) - 1982
Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), was a Greek dramatist, the earliest of the great tragic poets of Athens, and hence called the "Father of Greek Tragedy", born in Eleusis, near Athens, Aeschylus fought against the Persians at Marathon in 490 B.C., at Salamis in 480 B.C., and at Plataea the following year, sharing in the exaltation and triumph of Greece over the repulse of the Persians. He made three trips to Sicily. During his last visit he died at Gela, where a monument was later raised to his memory.
He began producing tragedies about 497 B.C.; by 484 B.C. he was the most popular dramatic poet of Athens. Aeschylus is said to have written about ninety plays. His tragedies were presented in trilogies, or groups of three, usually bound together by a common theme, and each trilogy was followed by a satyr drama. Only seven tragedies of his authorship have survived. The earliest is The Suppliants, a drama with little action but many choral songs of great beauty; it is the first play of a trilogy treating the story of the fifty daughters of Danatis (Q.V.) and their ill-fated marriages to the fifty sons of Aegyptus. The Persae, presented in 472 B.C. is a historical tragedy on the battle of Salamis, the scene being laid in Persia at the court of Queen Atossa; this drama is also unique in that it seems to have no connection with the other two plays of the trilogy. The Seven against Thebes, produced in 467 B.C., treats a favorite subject drawn from Theban legend, the conflict between the two sons of (Edipus, Eteocles and Polynices), for the throne of Thebes. It was the third play of the trilogy, the first two of which there were Laius and Edipus. The Prometheus Bound, of uncertain date, portrays the punishment of the defiant Prometheus by Zeus, ruler of gods and men; it was apparently the first play of the trilogy, the others being Prometheus Unbound and Prometheus the Fire-bringer. The remaining three plays, Agamemnon, The Choephori, and the Eumenides, produced in 458 B.C., form the trilogy known as the Oresteia, or story of Orestes. In Agamemnon, one of the greatest works of dramatic literature. King Agamemnon returns home from Troy and is treacherously murdered by his faithless wife Clytemnestra. In the second play, Agamemnon's son, Orestes, returns to Argos and avenges his father's murder by slaying his mother and her paramour Egisthus. This act of matricide is punished by the Furies. In The Eumenides, Orestes is pursued by the avenging furies until he is cleansed of his blood guilt and set free by the ancient court of the Areopagus, through inter-cession of Athena, goddess of wisdom.Aeschylus is generally considered the true inventor of Greek tragedy. By introducing a second actor into the play, he was the originator of dramatic dialogue, and he made many alterations in the form and staging of the drama. The characteristics of his works are simplicity, picturesque ness, and grandeur. Aeschylus had a deep and abiding interest in religion and theology, and the Oresteia, his maturest work, provides an insight into his conception of justice and mercy, and his believe in a divine will, through whose aid man shall by his own suffering achieve wisdom.  
The Oresteia
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, their spirit of struggle and regeneration becomes an everlasting song of celebration.

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