The Oresteia

The Oresteia

By (author) Aeschylus , Translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones

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The most famous series of ancient Greek plays, and the only surviving trilogy, is the Oresteia of Aeschylus, consisting of Agamemnon, Choephoroe, and Eumenides. These three plays recount the murder of Agamemnon by his queen Clytemnestra on his return from Troy with the captive Trojan princess Cassandra; the murder in turn of Clytemnestra by their son Orestes; and Orestes' subsequent pursuit by the Avenging Furies (Eumenides) and eventual absolution. Hugh Lloyd-Jones's informative notes elucidate the text, and introductions to each play set the trilogy against the background of Greek religion as a whole and Greek tragedy in particular, providing a balanced assessment of Aeschylus's dramatic art.

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  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 138 x 206 x 18mm | 340.19g
  • 01 Dec 1993
  • University of California Press
  • Berkerley
  • English, Greek, Ancient (to 1453)
  • Revised ed.
  • 0520083288
  • 9780520083288
  • 961,729

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Author Information

Hugh Lloyd-Jones was Regius Professor of Greek at the University of Oxford and author of, among many titles, The Justice of Zeus (California, 1971).

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Review text

Though it's tempting to imagine the late English poet laureate's long tortured relationship with the image of (his wife) feminist heroine Sylvia Plath as its subtext, this vivid free-verse translation of Aeschylus' dark and bloody tragic trilogy (comprising Agamemnon, Choephori, and Eumenides) more properly evinces Hughes's wide range of interests and mastery of classic literatures. His nearly conversational rhythms produce an arresting mixture of colloquialism and formality, enlivened by strong imagery (as in the matricidal Orestes' declaration that "This house has been the goblet / That the demon of homicide, unquenchable, / Has loved to drain"), and only infrequently weakened by astonishing woodenness - as in Clytemnestra's cool reply to the Chorus who lament her murder of her husband: "You think I'm an irresponsible woman? / You are making a mistake"). Perhaps not the ultimate "acting edition" it claims to be, but, still, an essential further installment in the always interesting oeuvre of a gifted poet who was also a diligent scholar. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Back cover copy

"By far the best translation. Faithful to the original Greek text and eminently readable. The notes constitute a commentary in their own right."--Albert Henrichs, Harvard University"Hugh Lloyd-Jones's translation stands out very much from any other. The notes are first class and scholarly."--Jeffrey Rusten, Cornell University

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