48 Following


The Oresteia: Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides

The Oresteia: Agamemnon / The Libation Bearers / The Eumenides - Aeschylus, Robert Fagles, William Bedell Stanford This is the only trilogy of ancient Greek plays to survive completely intact into modern times. It explores the nature of justice, the irony of fate, the legitimacy/power of filial bonds, and the character of the gods. Note: technically Aschylus was a Greek living in Sicily back when the island was part of "Greater Greece", Magna Grecia. No way will this review do poor Aeschylus justice, but essentially this trilogy plays out as follows:"Agamemnon" is the story of Agamemnon- king of Argos and brother of Menelaus (king of Sparta, and husband of Helen). After all of the carnage and misery of the Trojan War (see [b:Homer's Iliad|1371|The Iliad (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)|Homer|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wPCJGT0yL._SL75_.jpg|3293141]) Agamemnon returns from the war to his unfaithful wife, Clytemnestra, who connives with her lover(s?) to kill him. "The Libation Bearers" tells how the couple's children, Electra and Orestes, meet after many years of estrangement and plot to avenge their father. Side note: there is famous "recognition scene" here where Electra recognizes her brother after many years. Euripides does a hillarious send-up of this scene in one of his plays (which escapes my memory now). Clytemnestra gets her comeuppance."The Eumenides" closes the loop: Despite the justice of avenging poor Agememnon, supernatural creatures (the Furies) take displeasure in the Oreste's unnatural act of killing his mother, and set out to distribute justice accordingly. Orestes pleads his case before the gods.In recent years, many of Shakespeare's works have come out with modern interpretations (the 1997 Romeo+Juliet with Leo DiCaprio and Claire Dainnes was the most successful, in my opinion). I find myself thinking a lot about how the Oresteia could be done in modern style. If done well (a big "if"), I think this work would do well with such treatment.