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Libation Bearers

ISBN-10: 0862920701

ISBN-13: 9780862920708

Edition: 1986

Authors: A. Bowen, Aeschylus

List price: $24.95
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Description:

Produced in 458 BC, Aeschylus' Choephori is the second play in the Oresteian trilogy. The bloodshed begun in the first play with the murder of Agamemnon by his wife Clytemnestra is here continued when Agamemnon's son Orestes avenges his father's death by killing Clytemnestra. It is not until the third and final play, Eumenides, that peace is restored to the family of the Atreidae. This edition takes into account the large amount of recent research on the play and tackles the problems presented by an unusually corrupt text. The introduction discusses the pre-Aeschylean 'Orestes' tradition in literature and art, as well as the place of Choephori within the Oresteia, its imagery and dramatic structure, the questions of staging the play, and the manuscript tradition. The Greek text and critical apparatus are those of D.L. Page (OCT). The commentary looks at problems of style, dramatic technique, and interpretation of the play, and before each scene is discussed an analysis of its contribution to the drama as a whole is supplied.
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Book details

List price: $24.95
Copyright year: 1986
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Publication date: 6/1/1991
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 198
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.00" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.550

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."