The Agamemnon of Aeschylus: A Commentary for Students

By David Raeburn, Oliver Thomas

This remark discusses Aeschylus' play Agamemnon (458 BC), that's probably the most renowned of the surviving historical Greek tragedies, and is the 1st to be released in English on account that 1958. it truly is designed fairly to assist scholars who're tackling Aeschylus within the unique Greek for the 1st time, and encompasses a reprint of D. L. Page's Oxford Classical textual content of the play.
The advent defines where of Agamemnon in the Oresteia trilogy as an entire, and the historic context within which the performs have been produced. It discusses Aeschylus' dealing with of the normal delusion and the most principles which underpin his total layout: reminiscent of the improvement of justice and the character of human accountability; and it emphasizes how the ability of phrases, noticeable as ominous speech-acts which could confirm destiny occasions, makes a relevant contribution to the play's dramatic momentum. Separate sections discover Aeschylus' use of theatrical assets, the function of the refrain, and the solo characters. eventually there's an research of Aeschylus' particular poetic variety and use of images, and an overview of the transmission of the play from 458 BC to the 1st published variations.

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A hundred thirty five introduces canine as looking animals. Zeus’ eagles are ‘winged canines’ after they ‘sacrifice’ the hare. The eagles symbolize the Atridae, and within the moment stasimon the Greek chieftains hunt Helen to Troy (694 κυναγο ). looking with hounds is right here a picture of vengeance opposed to Troy, as looking with nets is at 357–61; the latter additionally figures Clytemnestra’s pursuit of vengeance opposed to Agamemnon and (less markedly) Orestes’ opposed to Clytemnestra. within the final around of vengeance, the Erinyes are time and again hounds at the bloody path of Orestes (from Cho.

219 πν ων) has extra aspect. 188. α ̓ πλοίαι κεναγγεῖ: actually ‘by an absence of boating characterised through empty innards’: the hold up made their provisions run out (cf. 193 ν στιδε ). κεν(ε)αγγ ω is a technical clinical time period. The syncopated rhythm drags, to reflect the experience (as at 196). 189. βαρύνοντ’: plural with the collective topic λε ; in tragedy, the increase is usually passed over (as in Homer and lyric). 190–1. ‘occupying the land contrary Chalcis within the backward-roaring zone of Aulis’. π ραν is typically an adverb, yet right here a noun.

PMG D. L. web page, Poetae melici graeci (Oxford: Clarendon, 1962). Smyth H. W. Smyth, A Greek Grammar for schools (New York: American e-book Co. , 1920). Abbreviations Sommerstein TrGF West xi A. H. Sommerstein, Aeschylus II: The Oresteia, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard college Press, 2008). B. Snell, S. L. Radt, and R. Kannicht, Tragicorum graecorum fragmenta, five vols. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1971–2004). M. L. West, Aeschyli tragoediae cum incerti poetae Prometheo, second edn. (Stuttgart: Teubner, 1998).

Recurs in numerous Commentary on traces 36–40 seventy one passages of Ag. the place a disastrous replacement is euphemistically left unexpressed: see 255, 676, 1568. 36–9. The Watchman clams up, with a surprising switch of favor to brief clauses which pass line-breaks. ‘A nice ox is status on my tongue’ was once a proverbial expression for ‘keeping mum’; a dead ringer for a key at the tongue can be stumbled on, linked to the secrecy of the Eleusinian Mysteries (e. g. Sophocles OC 1050–3 ‘rites whose golden secret is status at the tongue of the Eumolpid attendants’).

The Atridae are prompted to sail opposed to Paris by means of the pursuit of revenge and glory, yet Zeus Xenios oversees the method (61–2), because the guarantor of the sacred principles of hospitality which Paris breached. The latter description isn't in simple terms a logo or metaphor for the previous, nor does it absolve the Atridae of accountability for the conflict they salary. Zeus steers the battle to final touch (355–66, 581–2), which doesn't undermine the human efforts of the Greek squaddies (their ‘many limb-tiring wrestlings’, 63), or their accountability for the brutal and sacrilegious remedy of Troy;46 Agamemnon in his beginning traces says that the neighborhood gods ‘share with me in accountability’ forty six The refrain imagines that Paris’ kinsmen actively played at his marriage to Helen (704–8).

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