The Oresteia: Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides

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Overview

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, the family’s spirit of struggle and regeneration becomes an everlasting song of celebration. This masterful translation by the acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles includes an introduction, notes and glossary written in ...

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The Oresteia: Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides

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Overview

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, the family’s spirit of struggle and regeneration becomes an everlasting song of celebration. This masterful translation by the acclaimed classicist Robert Fagles includes an introduction, notes and glossary written in collaboration with W. B. Stanford.

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140443332
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/7/1984
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 50,979
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 7.77 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet 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.

Robert Fagles (1933-2008) was Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He was the recipient of the 1997 PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His translations include Sophocles’s Three Theban Plays, Aeschylus’s Oresteia (nominated for a National Book Award), Homer’s Iliad (winner of the 1991 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award by The Academy of American Poets), Homer’s Odyssey, and Virgil's Aeneid.

 

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
A Reading of "The Oresteia": The Serpent and the Eagle

AESCHYLUS: THE ORESTEIA

Agamemnon
The Libation Bearers
The Eumenides
The Geneaology of Orestes
Select Bibliography
Notes:
Agamemnon
The Libation Bearers
The Eumenides
Glossary

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Greek Tragedy

    The Greeks knew what it was to be a human being. Ufortunately life is a lot like Greek Tragedy. This is one of the first. It eplores the themes of justice, divided loyalties and the dilemmas we face when presented with two absolutely incompatible "goods".

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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