Aeschylus  The Orestia
After the death of Aeschylus, the Athenians decreed that his plays
should continue to be produced at the public expense.   Although
Aeschylus wrote more than ninety plays, only seven have been
preserved.   The Orestia represents the rare case of an entire
trilogy surviving (although a fourth satyr play, which would have
concluded the sequence is not extant).   Like so many other great
works of Western literature -- Homer's epics, the Aeneid, Joyce's
Ulysses -- the Trojan war serves as a background.   Clytemnestra
murders her husband Agamemnon, who has returned from the
war, setting off a tragic sequence that leads to her death at the
hands of her son Orestes, and his pursuit by the tormenting
Fates.  Yet this tragedy ends with a somewhat happy ending,
Orestes saved by a hung jury -- the dictates of justice overcoming
the traditional impetus to vengeance and retribution.  


WEB LINKS

A biography of Aeschylus can be found here.  

Check out a
web site on Aeschylus for youngsters.   

Learn about the
architecture of the staging of Greek drama.  
TIPS FOR READERS

I first encountered
this work in the fine
translation of Richard
Lattimore.  Readers
are blessed, however,
by several other
versions by poets of
distinction, including
Ted Hughes and
Robert Browning.



A MODERN TWIST . . .

Jean-Paul Sartre's
existential
reconfiguring of the
story of Orestes,
The
Flies, ranks among
his finest literary
works.