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The Complete Greek Tragedies: Aeschylus I [Paperback]

Aeschylus , David Grene , Richmond Lattimore
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 15 1969 0226307786 978-0226307787 Second Edition
"These authoritative translations consign all other complete collections to the wastebasket."—Robert Brustein, The New Republic

"This is it. No qualifications. Go out and buy it everybody."—Kenneth Rexroth, The Nation

"The translations deliberately avoid the highly wrought and affectedly poetic; their idiom is contemporary....They have life and speed and suppleness of phrase."—Times Education Supplement

"These translations belong to our time. A keen poetic sensibility repeatedly quickens them; and without this inner fire the most academically flawless rendering is dead."—Warren D. Anderson, American Oxonian

"The critical commentaries and the versions themselves...are fresh, unpretentious, above all, functional."—Commonweal

"Grene is one of the great translators."—Conor Cruise O'Brien, London Sunday Times

"Richmond Lattimore is that rara avis in our age, the classical scholar who is at the same time an accomplished poet."—Dudley Fitts, New York Times Book Review

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About the Author

David Grene (1913–2002) taught classics for many years at the University of Chicago. He was a founding member of the Committee on Social Thought and coedited the University of Chicago Press’s prestigious series The Complete Greek Tragedies.

Richmond Lattimore (1906–1984) was a poet, translator, and longtime professor of Greek at Bryn Mawr College.

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5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest of Greek Tragedy July 8 2004
Aeschylus I (the Oresteia) probably best epitomized Greek tragedy. This compelling trilogy told the stories of endless cycles of violence in the House of Atreus that stretched across generations and only ended when peace and harmony took its place.
In "Agamemnon", the king had just returned from Troy when he is murdered in his bath by his wife and lover. Aegisthus, the son of Thyestes, sought revenge for his father, whom his brother, Atreus, killed two of his sons and fed him to Thyestes. Aegisthus, the surviving son returned to Argos to marry the queen after Agamenon left for Troy. This would make Aegisthus the ruler of Argos. Clytemnestra agreed to this because she hated her husband for sacrificing their oldest daughter, Iphegenia, to appease Artemis.
After Agamenon's death Orestes, only a child at the time, received a decree from the oracle to kill his mother to take revenge on behalf of his father. This is the theme of the "Libation Bearers." But when Orestes kills his mother it unleashes the Furies, primordial goddesses, who avenge Clytemnestra.
In the third play, "The Eumenides" Orestes is put on trial by Athene and is acquitted of the murder of his mother but the Furies are not satisfied. Only a peace-making offer from the goddess to the Furies ended the endless avenging approaches to justice.
The Oresteia centered on the concept of justice. How should a wrong be punished? What Aeschylus pointed out in his plays was that there were always two sides to every story. But it seemed man's fate to only see one side. Neither Orestes nor his sister, Electra, could see the anguish their mother experienced. They could not understand how she could slay their father because they saw no justification for such a brutal act.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Oresteia Trilogy Sept. 11 2003
By Richard
Aeschylus's Oresteia Trilogy is a wonderful story and great to read. It explains the greek life and life styles that were brought about thousands of years ago during the time of the greek god's and the days of almighty Zeus. Aeschylus brigns about a storyline that will keep you wanting to read until the very end. This is a great story and for all ages to be enchanted by!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best English 'Oresteia' July 21 2002
All of the Grene/Lattimore translations I've read have been excellent, but this edition of the Oresteia stands out. Lattimore renders the chori of 'Agamemnon' so hauntingly that they hardly seem translated. The first chorus in particular, with its long sections punctuated by the refrain, "Sing sorrow, sorrow: but good win out in the end" is the best I've ever seen. It makes me shiver.
Greek similies are often tortured in translation, but not in this edition: "the sin / smoulders not, but burns to evil beauty. / As cheap bronze tortured / at the touchstone relapses / to blackness and grime, so this man / tested shows vain..." The poetry is an achievement in itself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy's Daddy Sept. 8 2001
Aeschylus' trilogy is very enjoyable reading. It would be fun to see these plays performed. It's too bad that so many of Aeschylus' plays did not survive. The only reason this is not a 5 star rating is that the translation was awkward in just a few places. 4.5 stars is probably the correct rating.
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