The Oresteia

Overview

In the Oresteia -- the only trilogy in Greek drama that survives from antiquity -- Aeschylus took as his subject the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos. As they move 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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The Oresteia

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Overview

In the Oresteia -- the only trilogy in Greek drama that survives from antiquity -- Aeschylus took as his subject the bloody chain of murder and revenge within the royal family of Argos. As they move 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.
Read More Show Less

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

Peter Meineck's new rendition of the Oresteia is that rare and wonderful thing: a text accessible to the Greekless audience while still preserving the vocabulary of Aeschylus. Those of us who have seen Peter Meineck's performances have long marveled at his ability to turn Greek into clear English, how he does not do 'versions' of the plays, how he does not rewrite the ancients into modern jargon (even his comedies maintain more Aristophanic text than is usual). Here lines that students have always needed explicated stand clear. . . . Helene Foley has provided a fine introduction for this translation. Introduction and translation together provide an exciting text, one that should be widely read, widely used. --Karelisa Hartigan, University of Florida, in The Classical Outlook

. . . a translation for the stage by an experienced man of the theater. Its virtues are very real, and, though Meineck makes them seem easy, very hard to achieve. The idiom is contemporary without yielding to the siren song of gimmicky updating; it manages to be clear without betraying Aeschylus’ complexity or sacrificing his intricate imagery. What makes it effective on stage makes it work on the page, too. With the added guidance of Helene Foley's characteristically intelligent Introduction and Meineck's own crisp annotation and full stage directions, this translation offers the most approachable and in many ways most communicative Oresteia now available. It will be the Oresteia of choice for many teachers and their students, as well as for readers interested in what makes Greek tragedy great theater. --Peter Burian, Duke University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226007717
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/1989
  • Pages: 257
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.79 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Meineck is Clinical Associate Professor of Classics, New York University, and Artistic Director of the Aquila Theatre Company.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 7
Acknowledgements 11
A Reading of 'The Oresteia': The Serpent and the Eagle 13
Agamemnon 99
The Libation Bearers 173
The Eumenides 227
The Genealogy of Orestes 279
Select Bibliography 281
Notes 285
Agamemnon 285
The Libation Bearers 305
The Eumenides 317
Glossary 331
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