The Oresteia

The Oresteia

Book - 2003
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Aeschylus' Oresteia, the only ancient tragic trilogy to survive, is one of the great foundational texts of Western culture. It begins with Agamemnon, which describes Agamemnon's return from the Trojan War and his murder at the hands of his wife Clytemnestra, continues with her murder by theirson Orestes in Libation Bearers, and concludes with Orestes' acquittal at a court founded by Athena in Eumenides. The trilogy thus traces the evolution of justice in human society from blood vengeance to the rule of law, Aeschylus' contribution to a Greek legend steeped in murder, adultery, humansacrifice, cannibalism, and endless intrigue. This new translation is faithful to the strangeness of the original Greek and to its enduring human truth, expressed in language remarkable for poetic intensity, rich metaphorical texture, and a verbal density that modulates at times into powerfulsimplicity. The translation's precise but complicated rhythms honor the music of the Greek, bringing into unforgettable English the Aeschylean vision of a world fraught with spiritual and political tensions.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2003.
ISBN: 9780195135923
Branch Call Number: 882.01 AESCHYLUS 2003
Characteristics: ix, 285 p. ; 22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Burian, Peter 1943-
Shapiro, Alan 1952-


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 29, 2016

Really good trilogy of plays. Not sure I'd call them tragedies, they seemed more like histories of events and of how the modern justice system came into being. Really great read, I'd definitely recommend

Jun 07, 2010

The first play, AGAMEMNON, has a really amazing climax. The death, when it finally comes, has been built up to what Nietzsche might call a Dionysian climax, in which the reader is swept up in a euphoric wave as identity, the principium individuatonis, is burst asunder. This is not tragedy in the Aristotelian sense of catharsis - it is not a mere release of tension; it is something more than that, and sensitive readers will find a lot of value in it.

The second and third plays in the trilogy are more notable for their tight plots and intriguing team-ups. EUMENIDES, I believe, begins with Orestes and Apollo in a sort of buddy-cop relationship as the Sun God helps the young king escape the Furies, those terrible spirits of vengeance that the Greeks ironically called The Kindly Ones (Eumenides). The climax of these is not the sublime ecstasy of AGAMEMNON, but rather a much more directed and mundane ending - likely anticlimactic for most readers.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SMPL

To Top