Synopses & Reviews
In the Oresteiathe only trilogy in Greek drama which survives from antiquityAeschylus 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 familys 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.
In the Oresteia Aeschylus addressed 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. In Agamemnon, a king's decision to sacrifice his daughter and turn the tide of war inflicts lasting damage on his family, culminating in a terrible act of retribution; The Libation Bearers deals with the aftermath of Clytemnestra's regicide, as her son Orestes sets out to avenge his father's death; and in The Eumenides, Orestes is tormented by supernatural powers that can never be appeased. Forming an elegant and subtle discourse on the emergence of Athenian democracy out of a period of chaos and destruction, The Oresteia is a compelling tragedy of the tensions between our obligations to our families and the laws that bind us together as a society.
The only trilogy in Greek drama that survives from antiquity, Aeschylus' The Oresteia is translated by Robert Fagles with an introduction, notes and glossary written in collaboration with W.B. Stanford in Penguin Classics.
'Conveys more vividly and powerfully than any of the ten competitors I have consulted the eternal power of this masterpiece ... a triumph' Bernard Levin
'How satisfying to read at last a modern translation which is rooted in Greek feeling and Greek thought ... both the stature and the profound instinctive genius of Aeschylus are recognised' Mary Renault, author of The King Must Die
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
This book is a play that has been translated into English. 'The Oresteia'
Includes bibliographical references (p. -283).
About the Author
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
, 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 Sophocless Three Theban Plays, Aeschyluss Oresteia (nominated for a National Book Award), Homers Iliad (winner of the 1991 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award by The Academy of American Poets), Homers Odyssey, and Virgil's Aeneid.
Table of Contents
A Reading of "The Oresteia": The Serpent and the Eagle
AESCHYLUS: THE ORESTEIA
The Libation Bearers
The Geneaology of Orestes
The Libation Bearers