Perhaps the greatest of the Greek tragedians, Aeschylus wrote 90 plays, but only seven have survived complete. Among them is this classic trilogy dealing with the bloody history of the House of Atreus.
In Agamemnon, the warrior who defeated Troy returns to Argos and is murdered by his wife Clytemnestra for sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia before the start of the Trojan War. In The Libation-Bearers, Orestes, Agamemnon’s son, avenges his father by murdering his mother. In The Furies, Orestes flees to Delphi, pursued by the divine avengers (Erinyes) of his mother. After being purified by Apollo, he makes his way to Athens and is there tried (and acquitted) at the court of Areopagus.
Written in a grand style, rich in diction and dramatic dialogue, the plays embody Aeschylus’ concerns with the destiny and fate of individuals as well as the state, all played out under the watchful eye of the gods. Still powerful and provocative after 2,500 years, these great tragedies offer unparalleled insight into the world of ancient Greece and the origins of the Western dramatic tradition.
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