The Oresteia

The Oresteia

3.99 (28,172 ratings by Goodreads)
Translated by  , Translated by  , By (author) 

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Aeschylus' famed plays Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides comprise the Oresteia, which uses the dark and convoluted story of a family curse, and a long history of murder and revenge, to raise haunting questions about the nature and the price of justice. In Agamemnon, the Argive king reaches home following his victory in the Trojan War, only to meet his death at the hand of his wife, Clytemnestra. Horrible as this deed is shown to be, we also come to understand in the course of the play how justice has been satisfied by Agamemnon's murder. The second play in the trilogy, The Libation Bearers (Choephoroe), portrays the vengeance of Agamemnon's son Orestes, who returns from exile to exact the price of his father's murder. With the aid of his sister Electra, Orestes kills Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus. By spilling his mother's blood, however, he invites the wrath of the ancient Erinyes, or Furies, and they begin to pursue him. The Eumenides shows the Furies' pursuit of Orestes, who is protected by the younger god Apollo. Orestes is ultimately tried for his crime in Athens, and Athena, goddess of wisdom, casts the deciding vote on his behalf, and releases him from the ancient familial blood-guilt. Athena persuades the Furies to accept the new legal justice and a new role in the polis, as Kindly Ones, who will bless the city of Athens and its land. In this exciting new translation, at once faithful to the original and as fully alive as a poem in English, Alan Shapiro and Peter Burian showcase the complexity and intricate imagery of this great work of Athenian tragic more

Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 163.6 x 215.9 x 26.7mm | 498.96g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195154878
  • 9780195154870

Review quote

"These two new additions to Oxford's 'Greek Tragedy in New Translations' series only add to the luster of the previous releases. Each is firmly packed with insightful introductions, comprehensive and numbered notes, glossaries, and up-to-date bibliographies (the plays' texts take up about half of each volume). The collaboration of poet and scholar in each volume produces a language that is easy to read and easy to speak (compare, for instance, the Watchman's first lines in Shapiro and Burian's Agamemnon with those in Lattimore's 1947 translation). Each volume's introduction presents the play's action and themes with some detail. The translators' notes describe the linguistic twists and turns involved in rendering the text into a modern poetic language. Both volumes are enthusiastically recommended for academic libraries, theatre groups, and theatre departments."--Library Journal [starred review of Oresteia and Antigone&R]show more

About Aeschylus

Alan Shapiro is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of a number of prize-winning volumes of poetry and prose, including The Dead Alive and Busy, winner of the 2001 Kingsley Tufts Award. Peter Burian is Professor of Classical Studies at Duke University. Together, they act as the general editors for Oxford's Greek Tragedy in New Translations more

Rating details

28,172 ratings
3.99 out of 5 stars
5 36% (10,098)
4 35% (9,839)
3 23% (6,435)
2 5% (1,481)
1 1% (319)
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