Aeschylus' (Magill's Literary Annual 1988)
Aeschylus’ Oresteia, the only surviving complete tragic Greek trilogy, consists of Agamemnn (Agamemnon), Chophoroi (Libation Bearers), and Eumenides. First produced in 458 b.c.e., this trilogy was an initial and permanent dramatic success. The Oresteia was read and imitated throughout antiquity and served as the core for the seven plays surviving in the medieval Aeschylean manuscript tradition. Rediscovered in the West during the Greek revival of the Renaissance, the Oresteia has continued to be admired and read in the modern world, but predominately by readers of ancient Greek. In the twentieth century, however, the spread of education among the general population and a remarkable increase in the number of translations of ancient Greek literature have made these three ancient plays readily accessible to the general reader.
With his highly metaphoric and dense language, however, Aeschylus is notoriously difficult to understand, even for a reader fluent in ancient Greek. Readers of the plays in translation, often perplexed by the apparent obscurity of the text, search in frustration for an interpretive aid, literary study, or useful commentary. Conacher’s book offers such a commentary, making this trilogy more fully understandable to the general reader and clarifying the complicated, longstanding questions raised about these plays by classical...
(The entire section is 1718 words.)
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