By Simon Goldhill
Simon Goldhill makes a speciality of the play's themes--justice, sexual politics, violence, and the position of guy in historical Greek culture--in this normal creation to Aeschylus' Oresteia, essentially the most very important and influential of all Greek dramas. After exploring how Aeschylus constructs a fantasy for town within which he lived, a last bankruptcy considers the impression of the Oresteia on extra modern theater. The volume's equipped constitution and advisor to extra analyzing will make it a useful reference for college kids and lecturers. First variation Hb (1992): 0-521-40293-X First variation Pb (1992): 0-521-40853-9
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Additional info for Aeschylus: The Oresteia (Landmarks of World Literature (New))
So, after the queen has finally persuaded the chorus of the beacon’s import, they say (Aga. 351): ‘Woman, you are speaking like a sensible man . ’ This is picked up when the messenger enters to confirm Clytemnestra’s proclamation, and she taunts the chorus for failing to believe her ‘as a woman’ (Aga. 592). It is not surprising, then, when Agamemnon, as he is being persuaded The Oresteia 35 to walk across the tapestries to his house, says to Clytemnestra (Aga. ’ He sees her desire as a wish to play a male role, battle, warfare; and if he is being ironic in his use of such language for what is as yet a war of words, he will shortly discover the aptness of such terminology when she kills him in his bath with a male military weapon.
Clytemnestra’s pursuit of power, then, through her misuse of words and her misuse of her body in adultery constructs a figure of monstrous reversal of the female role. One effect of this representation of the woman in charge is the great reduction of the role of Aegisthus. In the Agamemnon, he appears only in the last scene – a bathetic, if aggressive figure – where he is despised by the erstwhile ineffective chorus and called ‘woman’. This symmetry of radical opposition – as the woman becomes man-like the man becomes feminized – is typical both of Aeschylus’ stark structural composition, and of the Greek tendency towards polarization where the ‘only alternative to rule by men is rule by women’ (Zeitlin).
206–11): A heavy fate not to obey But heavy if I am to rend my child, glory of the household, Staining a father’s hand With streams of virgin sacrifice near the altar. What of this is without disaster? 26 THE ORESTEIA Agamemnon knows that either course of action – and one must be chosen – is disastrous. This conflict of competing and necessary obligations is known as a tragic ‘double bind’. The horror of the sacrifice is clear: the ‘virgin sacrifice’, by a ‘father’s hand’, near ‘the altar’, stress both the religious transgression of human sacrifice and the familial horror of a father killing his daughter, ‘glory of the oikos’.
Aeschylus: The Oresteia (Landmarks of World Literature (New)) by Simon Goldhill