The Seven Against Thebes

Courier Corporation
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Often called the father of Greek tragedy, Aeschylus (525–456 B.C.) was the earliest and possibly the greatest of the Greek tragic poets. Altogether he may have written as many as 90 plays (including satyr plays as well as tragedies), but only seven have survived.
The Seven Against Thebes (first produced in 467 B.C.) was the final play in a trilogy (the other two are lost) dramatizing the well-known legend of Laius and his son Oedipus. In this culminating play, Oedipus is dead after his banishment from Thebes, and his two sons vie for the crown. The victor, Eteocles, expels his brother, Polynices, who flees to Argos and recruits a force of seven champions to lead an assault on Thebes. The tragic outcome is the fulfillment of the curse of Oedipus — that his sons should divide their inheritance with the sword.
Although Sophocles' treatment of the Oedipus legend is better known, the dialogue and imagery in Aeschylus's play retain an immediacy that resonates with modern readers and audiences. The result is a deeply moving theatrical milestone that is essential reading for students of literature, drama, and the classics.
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About the author

Aeschylus was born at Eleusis of a noble family. He fought at the Battle of Marathon (490 b.c.), where a small Greek band heroically defeated the invading Persians. At the time of his death in Sicily, Athens was in its golden age. In all of his extant works, his intense love of Greece and Athens finds expression. Of the nearly 90 plays attributed to him, only 7 survive. These are The Persians (produced in 472 b.c.), Seven against Thebes (467 b.c.), The Oresteia (458 b.c.)---which includes Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides (or Furies) --- Suppliants (463 b.c.), and Prometheus Bound (c.460 b.c.). Six of the seven present mythological stories. The ornate language creates a mood of tragedy and reinforces the already stylized character of the Greek theater. Aeschylus called his prodigious output "dry scraps from Homer's banquet," because his plots and solemn language are derived from the epic poet. But a more accurate summation of Aeschylus would emphasize his grandeur of mind and spirit and the tragic dignity of his language. Because of his patriotism and belief in divine providence, there is a profound moral order to his plays. Characters such as Clytemnestra, Orestes, and Prometheus personify a great passion or principle. As individuals they conflict with divine will, but, ultimately, justice prevails. Aeschylus's introduction of the second actor made real theater possible, because the two could address each other and act several roles. His successors imitated his costumes, dances, spectacular effects, long descriptions, choral refrains, invocations, and dialogue. Swinburne's (see Vol. 1) enthusiasm for The Oresteia sums up all praises of Aeschylus; he called it simply "the greatest achievement of the human mind." Because of his great achievements, Aeschylus might be considered the "father of tragedy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Courier Corporation
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Published on
Aug 8, 2012
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Pages
80
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ISBN
9780486154299
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Language
English
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Genres
Drama / Ancient & Classical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Aeschylus II contains “The Oresteia,” translated by Richmond Lattimore, and fragments of “Proteus,” translated by Mark Griffith. Sixty years ago, the University of Chicago Press undertook a momentous project: a new translation of the Greek tragedies that would be the ultimate resource for teachers, students, and readers. They succeeded. Under the expert management of eminent classicists David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, those translations combined accuracy, poetic immediacy, and clarity of presentation to render the surviving masterpieces of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in an English so lively and compelling that they remain the standard translations. Today, Chicago is taking pains to ensure that our Greek tragedies remain the leading English-language versions throughout the twenty-first century. In this highly anticipated third edition, Mark Griffith and Glenn W. Most have carefully updated the translations to bring them even closer to the ancient Greek while retaining the vibrancy for which our English versions are famous. This edition also includes brand-new translations of Euripides’ Medea, The Children of Heracles, Andromache, and Iphigenia among the Taurians, fragments of lost plays by Aeschylus, and the surviving portion of Sophocles’s satyr-drama The Trackers. New introductions for each play offer essential information about its first production, plot, and reception in antiquity and beyond. In addition, each volume includes an introduction to the life and work of its tragedian, as well as notes addressing textual uncertainties and a glossary of names and places mentioned in the plays. In addition to the new content, the volumes have been reorganized both within and between volumes to reflect the most up-to-date scholarship on the order in which the plays were originally written. The result is a set of handsome paperbacks destined to introduce new generations of readers to these foundational works of Western drama, art, and life.
Aeschylus II contains “The Oresteia,” translated by Richmond Lattimore, and fragments of “Proteus,” translated by Mark Griffith. Sixty years ago, the University of Chicago Press undertook a momentous project: a new translation of the Greek tragedies that would be the ultimate resource for teachers, students, and readers. They succeeded. Under the expert management of eminent classicists David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, those translations combined accuracy, poetic immediacy, and clarity of presentation to render the surviving masterpieces of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides in an English so lively and compelling that they remain the standard translations. Today, Chicago is taking pains to ensure that our Greek tragedies remain the leading English-language versions throughout the twenty-first century. In this highly anticipated third edition, Mark Griffith and Glenn W. Most have carefully updated the translations to bring them even closer to the ancient Greek while retaining the vibrancy for which our English versions are famous. This edition also includes brand-new translations of Euripides’ Medea, The Children of Heracles, Andromache, and Iphigenia among the Taurians, fragments of lost plays by Aeschylus, and the surviving portion of Sophocles’s satyr-drama The Trackers. New introductions for each play offer essential information about its first production, plot, and reception in antiquity and beyond. In addition, each volume includes an introduction to the life and work of its tragedian, as well as notes addressing textual uncertainties and a glossary of names and places mentioned in the plays. In addition to the new content, the volumes have been reorganized both within and between volumes to reflect the most up-to-date scholarship on the order in which the plays were originally written. The result is a set of handsome paperbacks destined to introduce new generations of readers to these foundational works of Western drama, art, and life.
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