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by Aeschylus

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Series: The Oresteia (1)

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7381728,804 (3.59)56
The Agamemnon of Aeschylus is the first play in The Trilogy of the Oresteia, which deals with the eternal problem of the evil act causing vengeance which wreaks more evil which must be avenged. Aeschylus declares that the new ruler in heaven, Zeus, heralds the end of this cycle and the beginning of hope. Zeus has suffered and sinned and grown wise, and thereby shows humans how to grow wise also.… (more)

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» See also 56 mentions

English (16)  Dutch (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I found Lattimore's translation difficult to read and ended up supplementing it with the YouTube video of the (British) National Theater production of Tony Harrison's translation, which I found easier to understand. Even that was difficult in places but perhaps because I was busy trying to match up the video with the text...

So for this particular edition I give 3 stars - for the play itself, I give 4 stars. This is the epitome of what I think of when I hear the term "Greek tragedy" - the inescapable fate, the chorus, the justice and yet the pity.
( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 27, 2023 |
Enjoyed Aeschylus' in-depth revelation of Agamemnon's fate following the war. ( )
  MamaBearBooks | Apr 12, 2022 |
When re-reading this, I could not stop comparing Agamemnon with the Game of Thrones! I had not realised how much J R R Martin had taken from the Oresteia. Although I must say.... as much as I love him, he doesn't hold a candle to Aeschylus. I wonder if the series will follow the same path as the Oresteia, and end with the birth of democracy? There were some hints it could happen in the last season, in conversations between Tyrion and Daenerys.

Clytemnestra is one of the greatest villains ever in literature. ( )
  Clarissa_ | May 11, 2021 |
This is the more affordable of the two significant 20th Century editions of the Agamemnon, the other one being Fraenkel's magisterial three-volume edition (unfortunately priced only for the library or the specialist). Denniston and Page provide an edition with good apparatus, and engage intelligently with previous critics, providing a usable and helpful presentation of the text. ( )
  jsburbidge | Dec 30, 2015 |
The Agamemnon of Aeschylus was a play written by Aeschylus in 458 B.C. as part of a series (the Oresteia) that won him first prize in the archonship of Philocles. This version was translated into English rhyming verse by Gilbert Murray who also adds helpful footnotes.

Given that the original is in Greek, and this version has not only been translated into English but then made to rhyme in English, makes one wonder how true to the original spirit it remains. For example:
"Paris to Argos came;
Love of woman led him;
So God's altar he brought to shame,
Robbing the hand that fed him."

Author Philip Caputo offered the Oresteia as his one reading recommendation last year, which is why I wanted to read it. .

Agamemnon triumphantly returns home from the Trojan War. He is greeted by Clytemnestra who feigns the loving wife longing for her husband. She then lures Agamemnon and then Cassandra, his captured slave, into the house and murders them. The elders and comrades of Agamemnon move to take revenge against Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus. But Clytemnestra halts the dispute and everyone awaits the return of Agamemnon's son, Orestes, from Troy to exact the revenge.

Early in the play, I found language that sounds biblical enough to make me wonder either about the Greek translation or think about the Gospel authors' exposure to classic Greek literature.

"But the wise Shepherd knoweth his sheep,
And his eyes pierce deep
the faith like water that fawns and feigns."

My favorite part was when Agamemnon is replying to Clytemnestra, who is trying to tempt him to show hubris by treading on tapestries of crimson and gold. He responds by contrasting the honor he seeks with the respect shown only to gods:

"'Tis God that hath
Such worship; and for mortal man to press
Rude feet upon this broidered loveliness...
I vow there be danger in it. Let my road
Be honoured, surely; but as man, not god"

"God giveth, for I reckon no man blest
Ere to the utmost goal his race be run.
So be it; and if, as this day I have done,
I shall do always, then I fear no ill."

But alas, poor Agamemnon:
"For woman's sake he endured and battled well,
And by a woman's hand he fell." ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (148 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aeschylusprimary authorall editionscalculated
Arnott, Peter D.Ed. And Tr.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barker, G. R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boutens, P.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradfield CollegeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooke, Z. N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browning, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chappell, Sophie GraceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dearle, N. B.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Denniston, J.D.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fagles, R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraenkel, EduardEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardiner, A. F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greene, C. W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groeneboom, P.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helm, G. F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Higgins, J. C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hood, A. J. F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koolschijn, GerardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leach, G. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacNiece, LouisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Milne, W. S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murray, GilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nash, F. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Page, Denys L.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parsons, A. A. L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Patriarca, GoffredoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reynolds, L. G. S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roos, S.H. deDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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This waste of year-long vigil I have prayed
God for some respite, watching elbow-stayed,
As sleuthhounds watch, above the Atreidae's hall
Till well I know yon midnight festival
Of swarming stars, and them that lonely go,
Bearers to man of summer and of snow,
Great lords and shining, throned in heavenly fire.
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Die viel Blut vergossen, entgehn dem Blick der Götter nicht.
Alle Mühe ist süss für jene, die glücklich vollendet.
Denn auch für Greise bleibt das Lernen jugendlich.
Unheiliges Werk gebäre weiter, was seiner Art gleicht, doch rechtschaffenes Haus leb' immer in schönen Kindern.
Doch immer hat des Volkes Stimme grosse Macht.
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The Agamemnon of Aeschylus is the first play in The Trilogy of the Oresteia, which deals with the eternal problem of the evil act causing vengeance which wreaks more evil which must be avenged. Aeschylus declares that the new ruler in heaven, Zeus, heralds the end of this cycle and the beginning of hope. Zeus has suffered and sinned and grown wise, and thereby shows humans how to grow wise also.

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Average: (3.59)
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