☆ Read à Ὀρέστεια by Aeschylus ¼ Let good prevail So be it Yet what is good And who is God As many deeply conservative societies have discovered time and time again societies in which there is only one right order and this order is warranted by the highest authorities recognized by the society when change comes, and come it always must, not only do those in power tumble, but the authority of the gods priests, ancestors, laws, whatever the highest authorities happen to be in that society, comes into question New myths, new gods priests, new stories must be told to justify and establish, reassure and mollify the people whose ideological or religious supports have been pulled out from beneath them In the city of Athens during the Golden Age, this was done in the agora the marketplace and in the theaters.
In his lifetime Aeschylus ca 525 456 BCE witnessed the invasion of Attica by huge Persian armies, the bold abandonment of the fortified city of Athens and withdrawal, twice, of the Athenian people behind the wooden walls of the Athenian navy, and the multiple defeats of the Persians and their allies including other Greeks by the hugely outnumbered Athenians and their Greek allies He also witnessed the political transition from tyranny to isonomy to democracy in Athens and the concurrent growth of Athens from just another small, unimportant Greek city state to major power He himself contributed greatly to the transition of Greek tragedy from a religiously inspired performance rite involving a chorus and a single actor to something we his distant descendants can recognize as powerful theater During the transition from tyranny to democracy, when first the middle class essentially landowning farmers and artisans and then the lower class the thetes acquired a direct voice in Athenian politics, political activity was carried out not only in the agora, the popular assembly and the Council of Five Hundred, but it was also performed on stageRemains of the Theater of Dionysus Eleuthereus, where Aeschylus dramas were performedIndeed, the theater was so important in Athenian public life that plays were produced at all the most important public festivals and addressed conflicts troubling the Athenian policy makers the populace flocked to see them and talk about them In 461 BCE the last step to democracy in Athens was initiated with the stripping of all but ritual responsibilities from the Aeropagus, a body of men drawn essentially from the city s aristocracy The lower and middle classes formed the overwhelming majority on the remaining decision making organs of the state and were therefore in power, for a while.
Curiously enough, while all this innovation was going on, in Athens one of the most damaging epithets was innovator So the men who willed the demotion of the Aeropagus, led by Ephialtes who was later murdered for his trouble , had to argue that the Aeropagus had usurped its powers quite false and thus the removal of the aristocrats from the center of power was a return to the status quo ante even false but we all know that democratic decision making has precious little to do with the truth The Athenians needed a efficacious justification for this change They also needed a soothing of the many riled spirits brought about in the populace by all these changes In the Oresteia, first performed in 458, Aeschylus did all of this and much, much.
During this Golden Age playwrights wrote trilogies, which were intended, performed and perceived by audiences as coherent wholes The Oresteia is the only one which has come down to us intact The three plays are structured together with both dramatic and ideological intent.
At the end of the Trojan War, Agamemnon returns victorious to his palace But ten years earlier, in order to thwart the will of Artemis and still the fierce winds keeping the fleet on the Greek shore, he had sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia, and his wife, Clytemnestra, has neither forgotten nor forgiven She slays him horrifically, and now it is their son, Orestes, who is obliged by the received morality to revenge his father by killing his mother High drama and madness ensues, but behind all that excitement is the structure of Aeschylus purpose justify the new order, the new morality.
At the very outset of the trilogy the chorus recalls that even the gods have changed and changed again, from the rule of Ouranos through that of Kronos to Zeus with son killing father before the father could do the same to the son And one cannot be sure of doing the right thing by obeying a god, since the gods themselves disagree about right and wrong Uncertainty has been established perhaps the received ways are mutable.
I m not going to try to summarize the complicated plot and recall the many striking characters From this beautiful, moving and complex masterpiece I just want to draw out here the one theme I ve been working on in this review When Orestes kills Clytemnestra at Apollo s urging, the Erinyes, the Furies representing the old order, the old morality hasten to avenge the matricide by tearing Orestes apart But Apollo and Athena, representing the new order and morality, intervene The passages involving the Furies are particularly haunting, both dramatically and poetically The new order is confirmed with a trial in which Athena casts the deciding vote Orestes is acquitted Athena convinces the Furies to accept the verdict, and they are then given a place of honor though not power and agree to ensure the city s prosperity The old is replaced by the new, honored and bound into the polisall s well that ends well except for the house of Atreus Despite Aeschylus efforts, Athens new democracy did not last long, but that is another story As Sophocles has Ajax say in the eponymous play Long, immeasurable time brings everything hidden to light and hides what is apparent Nothing is not to be expected Change is the law of the world.
Aeschylus was in the battle at Marathon and most probably also at Salamis In fact, the epitaph on his gravestone, possibly written by himself, mentions Marathon and not his plays This tomb the dust of Aeschylus doth hide, Euphorion s son and fruitful Gela s pride How tried his valour, Marathon may tell And long haired Medes, who knew it all too well.
read in the translations of Robert Fagles and of Philip Vellacott Fagles is terse and colloquial, while Vellacott s is literary, redolent of older, elevated diction Both are very readable, but I do prefer Vellacott s Rating Murder, betrayal, revenge, torment you might wonder, Why would I bother reading three Greek plays when I could see the same sort of lurid problems on an episode of Jerry Springer And fold laundry at the same time Two possible answers First, you re not going to get patricide, matricide, human sacrifice and unintentional cannibalism on daytime TV because we still draw the line somewhere, and you have to admit those are pretty dramatic More importantly, though, along with the dysfunction in the House of Atreus comes a searing examination of guilt, retribution, and justice It s a lot of philosophical bang for your buck.
The first play in the trilogy, Agamemnon, sets up the conflict for the remaining two Agamemnon returns home from the Trojan War to his wife, Clytemnestra, who has spent the last ten years plotting revenge because he sacrificed their daughter to appease a god at the outset of the journey The verbal interplay at their reunion is the stuff of English majors dreams Clytaemnestra s subsequent murder of Agamemnon, with the help of a lover who has his own history with Agamemnon, is the stuff of Mafia dreams though actually I m only guessing on that one However, Clytaemnestra s revenge creates the conflict that drives the other two plays and generates the ethical conundrum Aeschylus ultimately wants to solve For now Clytaemnestra s son, Orestes, needs to avenge his father s death but what happens if you kill your own mother And how is the cycle of revenge ever supposed to end The Libation Bearers has Orestes debating what he should do, sort of like Hamlet, until the advice of his sister and the chorus women wins the day and that s when the excitement kicks up a notch Clytaemnestra s death at the hand of her son calls forth the avenging Furies ancient goddesses of chthonic tradition who appear here as gorgon like horrors, swathed in black, heads writhing with snakes It s so dramatic Also it s fitting, for Clytaemnestra is like a Fury herself in avenging her daughter s death she acts within the old paradigm of blood ties that the Furies champion, wherein maternal claims are stronger than marital So even though Orestes does his duty to avenge his father in accordance with the current ethos , he s pursed by snaky haired horrors for killing his mother Like his father, Orestes appears to be both an agent and a victim of fate, for in following the gods direction to avenge his father s death, he both aligns himself with the Furies spirit of vengeance and becomes subject to it Perhaps Orestes contradictory relationship with the Furies is Aeschylus s commentary on a theology rife with snares and contradictions In The Eumenides, Aeschylus resolves the problem, but his solution to the blood feud tradition is hardly unproblematic itself read it and lose sleep But you ll know for sure why this is a masterpiece.
This is pretty fantastic I m surprised I think I like this old Greek trilogy of plays better than all the others that I ve read That s including Oedipus PThe translation is pretty awesome, the tragedy is beautiful, and the underlying theme of justice and the balance of power between men and women is stark and heavy.
But isn t it about murder and eye for an eye taken to extremes Yeah, but it s still than that.
It s mainly about honoring your children and honoring your parents It s not as twisted as some of the other Greek plays, but it is pretty horrific Agamemnon kills his daughter, his wife kills him Her son kills her But wait Apollo sanctions his killing Alas, the Furies do not So now we have the older gods versus the new Parents and children at each other s throats again.
Totally beautiful.
And here we all thought that Zeus only caused chaos, too To think that he d welcome the Furies into his court as honored equals Personally, I think it was just a political move I m pretty sure that the Furies scared him shitless, too Great stuff Ma io povera stolta cosa posso mai scrivere di questa Opera mi sono veramente sentita super ignorante, non ricordo piu niente di ci che ho studiato ho fatto una fatica bestia, ma ho veramente goduto ogni passaggio della tragedia di Clitennestra e soprattutto della povera IfigeniaAgamennone, mi spiace, l ho odiato da subito ragionando da madre del 21 sec Per la seconda e la terza parte.
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ho dovuto chiedere aiuto ovunque, persino alle figlie liceali, che fatica Le Coefore e Le Eumenidi le ho trovate complicate e piene di incastri e personaggi a cui il mio povero cervello non riusciva proprio a stare dietro Mia figlia, presa da piet , mi ha allungato la dispensa facilitata per il Liceo Ho detto tutto ho proprio dimenticato tutto quello che ho studiato al Classico che vergogna I can only vouch for this Robert Fagles translation, but yes, astonishingly gripping after than 2,400 years.
I have suffered into truth You know the rules, now turn them into justice The outrage stands as it stands, you burn to know the end Never try to cut my power with your logic We spoil ourselves with scruples, long as things go well Old men are children once again, a dream that sways and wavers into the hard light of day Which is all to say that this trilogy is bananas and savage and graceful, and that Aeschylus was doing Shakespeare things about two thousand years before Shakespeare More thoughts here Alternate Cover Edition Can Be Found Here, Here, Here, HereIn 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 ArgosMoving 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 .
1st Part Agam mnon Agamemnon is based on the victorious return of the hero to Argos after winning the Trojan War and avenged the honor of his brother Menelaus, husband of Helen, who had fled to Paris The wife of Agamemnon, Climnestra, in turn, also betrays him, and architect husband s murder with her lover.
2nd Part CoephoriIn Choephori Orestes and Electra, children of Agamemnon, avenges his death by killing his mother and her lover The Climnestra s anger is materialized in the Furies.
3rd Part Seen only by Orestes, they are responsible for their madness in Eumenides Even in the last part, Orestes is tried for his crime by the Goddess Athens proclaiming that the court is the first to judge a murder crime that is established forever.
que cidade ou homem poder venerar a Justi a, se viver sem sombra de medo no seu cora o Atreu e Tiestes s o irm os g meos Quando Atreu rei de Micenas descobre que o irm o amante da sua mulher, decide vingar se mata os filhos de Tiestes e convida o para um banquete, dando lhos a comer Salva se o mais novo, Egisto.
Atreu pai de Agam mnon Durante o tempo em que este esteve ausente, na guerra de Tr ia, Egisto torna se amante da mulher do primo, Clitemnestra, e planeia vingar se do crime cometido por Atreu, matando Agam mnon.
Antes de partir para Tr ia, Agam mnon, sacrifica deusa rtemis, a sua filha Ifig nia Clitemnestra nunca lhe perdoou a morte da filha e alia se a Egisto na vingan a.
No fim da guerra, Agam mnon regressa a casa, acompanhado por Cassandra, princesa de Tr ia, e s o assassinados por Clitemnestra e Egisto.
Ap s a morte de Agam mnon, o filho, Orestes, enviado para casa de um tio de onde regressa anos depois com a incumb ncia, ordenada por Apolo, de vingar a morte do pai ajudado por Electra, que odeia a m e e nunca lhe perdoou ter assassinado o pai, ansiando por vingan a.
Depois de Orestes matar Clitemnestra e Egisto perseguido pelas Er nias as vingadoras dos crimes de sangue, neste caso o de matric dio Em julgamento, presidido pela deusa Atena, Orestes absolvido e as Er nias s o transformadas em Eum nides Benevolentes seres da justi a e n o da vingan a Oresteia s o tr s pe as de teatro sobre crime e castigo vingan a e justi a julgamento e absolvi o Em Agam mnon representado o assassinato de Agam mnon e de Cassandra por Clitemnestra e Egisto em Co foras a morte de Clitemnestra e de Egisto por Orestes e em Eum nides o remorso e o julgamento de Orestes Fran ois Perrier The Sacrifice of Iphigenia Evelyn De Morgan Cassandra Pierre Narcisse Gu rin Clytemnestra and Agamemnon John Collier Clytemnestra William Blake Richmond Electra at the Tomb of Agamemnon Bernardino Mei Orestes slaying Aegisthus and Clytemnestra John Downman The Ghost Of Clytemnestra Awakening The Furies Franz Stuck Orestes And The Erinyes