Get Aeschylus: The Oresteia PDF

By Simon Goldhill

ISBN-10: 0521832292

ISBN-13: 9780521832298

Simon Goldhill makes a speciality of the play's themes--justice, sexual politics, violence, and the function of guy in historical Greek culture--in this normal creation to Aeschylus' Oresteia, the most vital and influential of all Greek dramas. After exploring how Aeschylus constructs a fantasy for town during which he lived, a last bankruptcy considers the effect of the Oresteia on extra modern theater. The volume's geared up constitution and consultant to extra examining will make it a useful reference for college kids and teachers.

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Extra info for Aeschylus: The Oresteia

Sample text

Even the phrase for ‘unhesitatingly’ punningly echoes the repetitions of dikin the previous lines: ou dikhorropos. Aristotle derives the word dik¯e precisely from this term’s root (dikha = ‘separately’, ‘in two parts’). So as the king enters, there is a complex interplay of different senses of the word dik¯e that cannot be subsumed under the simple notion of revenge or retribution. The evolutionary view of the trilogy has to ignore such complexities of language to maintain its sense of clear development.

In the Oresteia, however, as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the narrative of revenge is used to explore the nature of human action and obligation, as well as the broadest ideas of justice and transgression (from which revenge draws its force as a principle). As in Hamlet, the Oresteia’s focus on revenge within a single household leads to the tragedy of intrafamilial violence and conflicting obligations. The structure of the Aeschylean trilogy, however, also links this pattern of revenge to a pattern of reversal, where the very act of taking revenge repeatedly turns the revenger into an object of revenge, as the trilogy explores with extraordinary sophistication the ancient Greek proverb that ‘He who acts is acted upon’ (Cho.

Apollo, a god, faces the Furies, female divinities, in a trial which turns on who is the true parent, the male or the female. What is more, at each point in these conflicts the female tends towards the support of a position and arguments that are based on the values of ties of blood to the point of the rejection of the ties of society, whereas the male tends to support a wider outlook of social relations to the exclusion of the claims of family and blood. Thus Agamemnon sacrifices his own daughter, ‘glory of the household’, to enable the panhellenic fleet to sail.

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Aeschylus: The Oresteia by Simon Goldhill

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