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Aeschylus I: Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides)

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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About the Author

David Grene (1913–2002) taught classics for many years at the University of Chicago. He was a founding member of the Committee on Social Thought and coedited the University of Chicago Press’s prestigious series The Complete Greek Tragedies.



Richmond Lattimore (1906–1984) was a poet, translator, and longtime professor of Greek at Bryn Mawr College.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: bnpublishing.com (August 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9562911624
  • ISBN-13: 978-9562911627
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,459,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
All of the Grene/Lattimore translations I've read have been excellent, but this edition of the Oresteia stands out. Lattimore renders the chori of 'Agamemnon' so hauntingly that they hardly seem translated. The first chorus in particular, with its long sections punctuated by the refrain, "Sing sorrow, sorrow: but good win out in the end" is the best I've ever seen. It makes me shiver.
Greek similies are often tortured in translation, but not in this edition: "the sin / smoulders not, but burns to evil beauty. / As cheap bronze tortured / at the touchstone relapses / to blackness and grime, so this man / tested shows vain..." The poetry is an achievement in itself.
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Format: Paperback
This edition is the materworks of two great men Aeschylus and Richmond Lattimore. I have read a dozen of translations of Aeschylus and this has no rival. As well the whole series edited by Green and Lattimore are the best compelation of all the Greek tragedy to date. Lattimore understand the darkness and the fatilism of greek tragedy. The verse translation is flowing and rythmic as the greek is. The translation is loose and not exacting like Lattimores Iliad but he captures the theme better than a too literal translation would allow.
This is the story of house of Atreus.
Agammenon: Agammenon has just returned from war. His wife Clyesmenstra, plots to kill him to avenge his daughters infanticide by Agammemon. As well it is also revenge by the gods for Agammenons willingness to make this scarifice and leading so many greeks and Trojans to their death in a meaningless war although the gods did not instruct C. to do this. As well A. brings back Cassandara his slave concubine who is cursed to see the future but never to be believed by Apollo. She forsees here own death and those of Agammenon and his troops.
Libatiion Bearers:
In this plays the Apollo sends Orestes to avenge his fathers death which the gods did not sanction. He does so and is attacked by the furies for matericide.
The Furies:
Athena passes judgement on Orestes because even though matercide is a crime it was sanctioned by a god to avenge a king. AS well the furies must be satisfied in there blood lust even if Oresties is found innocent.
The setting for the play is in the most primative of times which allows Aeschylus to create characters who do not follow the mores of his day more believeable. This play may have been the model for Hamlet.
Even after reading 100s of plays since the orestia this is still the most gripping drama that I have read. These plays and Hamelet are my favorites
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Aeschylus I (the Oresteia) probably best epitomized Greek tragedy. This compelling trilogy told the stories of endless cycles of violence in the House of Atreus that stretched across generations and only ended when peace and harmony took its place.
In "Agamemnon", the king had just returned from Troy when he is murdered in his bath by his wife and lover. Aegisthus, the son of Thyestes, sought revenge for his father, whom his brother, Atreus, killed two of his sons and fed him to Thyestes. Aegisthus, the surviving son returned to Argos to marry the queen after Agamenon left for Troy. This would make Aegisthus the ruler of Argos. Clytemnestra agreed to this because she hated her husband for sacrificing their oldest daughter, Iphegenia, to appease Artemis.
After Agamenon's death Orestes, only a child at the time, received a decree from the oracle to kill his mother to take revenge on behalf of his father. This is the theme of the "Libation Bearers." But when Orestes kills his mother it unleashes the Furies, primordial goddesses, who avenge Clytemnestra.
In the third play, "The Eumenides" Orestes is put on trial by Athene and is acquitted of the murder of his mother but the Furies are not satisfied. Only a peace-making offer from the goddess to the Furies ended the endless avenging approaches to justice.
The Oresteia centered on the concept of justice. How should a wrong be punished? What Aeschylus pointed out in his plays was that there were always two sides to every story. But it seemed man's fate to only see one side. Neither Orestes nor his sister, Electra, could see the anguish their mother experienced. They could not understand how she could slay their father because they saw no justification for such a brutal act.
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Format: Paperback
While the language of Lattimore's translation hardly compares with the soaring language he uses in his later version of "Prometheus Bound," this is still an extremely quality edition of Aeschylus' only remaining trilogy. The poetry is crisp and far less obtuse than the unreadable Paul Roche translation, and of course Aeschylus' depiction of human nature,especially in the strained relationship between Agamemnon and his wife Clytemnestra, is always of timeless interest. On balance, a fair treatment of a Greek classic.
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By CW on February 28, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a poetic play, written by an Ancient Greek play writer. The hero king from Trojan war, Agamemnon's murder and then his murderers murder and finally the acquittal of the murderer of Agamemnon's murderers is told in a beautiful literature in this book. It is enjoyable to read. I have review this book in details you can check it out https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/agamemnon-canan-williams
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