Oresteia

Oresteia

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by Aeschylus
     
 

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The Oresteia is the only trilogy of tragedy plays to survive from Ancient Greece. Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides have established the enduring themes of Greek tragedy—the inexorable nature of Fate, the relationship between justice, revenge, and religion. In this family history, Fate and the gods decree that each generation will repeat the crimes

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Overview

The Oresteia is the only trilogy of tragedy plays to survive from Ancient Greece. Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides have established the enduring themes of Greek tragedy—the inexorable nature of Fate, the relationship between justice, revenge, and religion. In this family history, Fate and the gods decree that each generation will repeat the crimes and endure the suffering of their forebears. When Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, their son Orestes must avenge his father's death. Only Orestes' appeal to the goddess Athena saves him from his mother's Furies, breaking the bloody chain; together gods and humans inaugurate a way of just conduct that will ensure stable families and a strong community.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

The Oresteia is majestic as theater and as literature, and this new translation seeks to preserve both these qualities. The introduction and notes emphasize the relationship between the scenes, ideas, and language that distinguishes this unique work.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two new additions to Oxford's "Greek Tragedy in New Translations" series only add to the luster of the previous releases. Each is firmly packed with insightful introductions, comprehensive and numbered notes, glossaries, and up-to-date bibliographies (the plays' texts take up about half of each volume). The collaboration of poet and scholar in each volume produces a language that is easy to read and easy to speak (compare, for instance, the Watchman's first lines in Shapiro and Burian's Agamemnon with those in Lattimore's 1947 translation). Each volume's introduction presents the play's action and themes with some detail. The translators' notes describe the linguistic twists and turns involved in rendering the text into a modern poetic language. Both volumes are enthusiastically recommended for academic libraries, theater groups, and theater departments.-Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Booknews
Translators Grene and O'Flaherty present a modern translation of the three plays composing the Oresteia and, with the assistance of director Nicholas Rudall, an abridged stage adaptation which transforms the Oresteia into an effective modern stage play. Includes introductory material. Cloth edition ($32.50). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
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.

From the Publisher

“Rory Mullarkey's adaptation of these three Aeschylus plays . . . is undertaken with a spirit it would be hard to trump. . . . Mullarkey has adapted Aeschylus in a way that never fudges, conceals or distances.” —Observer

“Witty, brash and steeped in blood . . . this is a big and boisterous account packed with sly wit and the sort of brash lines that wouldn't be out of place in a gangster film.” —Evening Standard

“brilliantly evokes the sheer strangeness and horror of the play. Rory Mullarkey's translation follows the Aeschylean original faithfully and his lyrics make some attempts to evoke the percussive muscularity of the choruses. . . . I haven't seen anything quite as sickening or as stately as this version of these plays.” —Spectator

Observer

Rory Mullarkey's adaptation of these three Aeschylus plays . . . is undertaken with a spirit it would be hard to trump. . . . Mullarkey has adapted Aeschylus in a way that never fudges, conceals or distances.
Evening Standard

Witty, brash and steeped in blood . . . this is a big and boisterous account packed with sly wit and the sort of brash lines that wouldn't be out of place in a gangster film.
Spectator

brilliantly evokes the sheer strangeness and horror of the play. Rory Mullarkey's translation follows the Aeschylean original faithfully and his lyrics make some attempts to evoke the percussive muscularity of the choruses. . . . I haven't seen anything quite as sickening or as stately as this version of these plays.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199537815
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
01/15/2009
Series:
Oxford World's Classics Series
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
286,475
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 5.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
15 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Christopher Collard was Professor of Classics at the University of Wales, Swansea from 1975 until his retirement in 1996. He has published annotated editions of Euripides' Suppliant Women, Hecuba, and Select Fragmentary Plays

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The Oresteia 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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