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Persians/Seven against Thebes/Suppliants/Prometheus Bound

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  3,071 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Aeschylus (ca. 525-456 BCE), the dramatist who made Athenian tragedy one of the world's great art forms, witnessed the establishment of democracy at Athens & fought against the Persians at Marathon. He won the tragic prize at the City Dionysia thirteen times between ca. 499 & 458, & in his later years was probably victorious almost every time he put on a produc ...more
cloth, 576 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Harvard University Press (first published -463)
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Steve
I recommend that you look at Terence's review at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... , but I would like to add some remarks to his.

Amongst these plays I much preferred The Persians. It opens with the elderly councilors to Xerxes who remained behind in Susa. They recall the pride and confidence with which the Persian army set forth but now are filled with foreboding and anxiety at the lack of news of victory. The tension between these emotions is very well drawn. The sense of foreboding is h
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Terence
Having recently read Caroline Alexander’s The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War, a wild hare came into my head to read Aeschylus’ Persians, which was mentioned in some connection with the book. My exposure to Greek playwrights is limited. In my infamous graduate-school days, my exposure to Greek authors comprised the historians and relatively obscure Byzantine chroniclers; I had done little reading – much less serious reading – of the literature.

As my a
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David
It's a shame three of these four plays are all part one of separate trilogies of which the other parts have been lost. This makes the plays seem somewhat dull and incomplete, but are certainly not terrible. They are simply lacking in when it comes to plot. If you compare them to the first play in the one trilogy of Aeschylus which is still intact (Oresteia), it is similarly slow-moving and would be fairly dull if taken by itself. The other two plays in Oresteia develop the story gradually and th ...more
Jesse
These plays are a mixed bag in a certain sense as the evolution of drama was still in its infancy, waiting to bloom into the full flower of Euripidean drama (in my opinion). Persians has no plot; Seven Against Thebes is plodding, and the Suppliants, like Prometheus Bound, is only the first part of a trilogy whose second and third parts are lost. Mueller brings these to vivid life, however, in a much more complete way than any other translators I've read, and the plays are still, by any standard, ...more
Anne
Prometheus Bound : I really enjoyed being thrown back to high school and remembering Io the cow and all the crazy stories of the Greek gods. In this short play, Prometheus, who gave humans the gift of fire, is condemned to being chained to a mountain for having done so because Zeus doesn't approve. Io shows up and her reveals to her that she still has a long way before she will eventually conceive a child from Zeus.

The Suppliants : In this one the fifty daughters of Danaus (some descendant of
...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
As theater goes I have read nothing of higher caliber than this. Prometheus Bound especially stirs great emotion in the reader and would be amazing to see live. The conversations with the Ocean, the nature of the gods, mans relation to fire. It is all very poetic and lovely. It was a sheer pleasure to read these works of Aeschylus.
Dave
How does one approach reviewing Aeschylus or any of the classics? One is dealing with a work which is thousands of years old and in and of itself a piece of history. Add to that problem that for most of us, there is no choice but to read translations of the work, rather than the original. In addition, there are only a few works remaining from only three sources (unless the authorship has been incorrectly given), so one is left to compare Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles, and given that Aeschy ...more
Mel
I bought this book because we were going to see a production of the Persians and wanted to be familiar with the story. I did like it a lot. This translation seemed really good, you could really hear the beauty and the despair of the ancient words. It was interesting reading a play that was how terrible things were for the enemey. Were the Greeks boasting or just showing compassion? I enjoyed the Persians immensly, a lot of woe, a strong woman queen, and a ghost! My favourite things! The next pla ...more
Garrett Cash
Unlike his successor Sophocles, Aeschylus is extremely difficult on the modern reader. He is our earliest surviving example of drama, and this clearly shows. This is theater at its most primitive state. Undeveloped, with much growing up to do. Aeschylus wrote about seventy plays, of which only six (and one's authorship being disputed) now survive. Only one of his trilogies remain, The Oresteia, and three of his plays were part of trilogies that are now lost. The Persians is a historical curiosit ...more
Brian Willis
A couple of the plays in this edition are included simply because they are a few of the seven surviving plays of Aeschylus. All are part of trilogies where the other two parts are lost. Prometheus Bound and Seven Against Thebes are quality depictions of the stories of the god who suffered for bringing the light of knowledge to humanity and the fatal confrontation of Polyneices and Eteocles, sons of Oedipus, for control of Thebes. The Persians is a contemporary depiction of the recent triumph ove ...more
David Withun
The plays of Aeschylus, perhaps more than any other Greek playwright, are both wonderful demonstrations of the ancient Greek worldview and of the desires within the souls of the ancient Greeks that something greater than this worldview must someday triumph. Again and again, Aeschylus exhibits the desire for a time when love will triumph over justice and when the cruel tyranny of the gods will be replaced by a reign of benevolence. In this volume, "Prometheus Bound," the final of the four plays f ...more
Phillip McCollum
Is it not clear we must think deeply, or perish?

I've never been one towatch plays, let alone read them. I was a kid who grew up entertained by the boob-tube and video games.In my youthful mind, I couldn't have toldyou which was the harsherpunishment - being forced to sitthrough a "boring old" play or a spanking.

Nope, the tragedies in my life weren't Greek; they were runningout of grape popsicles or not having a videotape nearby to record anewepisode of the Transformers cartoon.

With age comes wis
...more
Matthieu
Review to come... First two: Suppliants - boring; Persians - good. Last two: Seven Against - very good; Prometheus - incredible/shattering/vital.
Ben Dutton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Zuke
Feb 14, 2010 Scott Zuke rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Oresteia
I only skimmed The Suppliant Maidens and Seven Against Thebes. Even the editor's introductions admit that these plays are archaic and difficult for a modern reader to appreciate. They are worth skimming for two benefits, however: 1) to better appreciate the early strides in dramatic storytelling, and 2) to more fully grasp the advantages of having a full trilogy intact, as with Aeschylus's Oresteia.

Prometheus Bound is worth reading as it is easy to follow and raises some thought-provoking inquir
...more
Rick
Aeschylus, who Robert Kennedy was fond of quoting—and to a saving effect the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination when he succeeded in maintaining calm after breaking the news to a crowd in an Indianapolis ghetto by connecting his suffering with theirs—wrote hundreds of plays with only seven surviving antiquity. So these four plays with the Oresteia represent the total of his extant plays. And the word “extant” is challengeable because each was part of a larger cycle of plays with the oth ...more
Lauren
Oct 10, 2012 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in.. well.. literature.
I especially recommend Prometheus Bound & The Seven Against Thebes. I wasn't a fan of the other two plays, even though they were indeed interesting (Xerxes managed to make a story starring a ghost boring!)

The Seven against Thebes was tense and all involved seemed bigger than life. I was scared for all the defenders of the city's gates and for a minute there I forgot I dislike both brothers (Oedipus' sons -> they are both a mess and... Antigone! Antigone! she's way cooler). And it has a ve
...more
Charles
Having read the 'Oresteia', I was compelled to read more from the great playwright that is Aeschylus. There is always something profound to be learnt from these plays, however old they are they are not antiquated, not only of the Greek perception of the World in those times and of their theatre and performance techniques but also due to certain similarities that in my opinion exist between their developing times and ours.

1)'The Suppliant Maidens':

This play has been defined as an international pl
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John
It's hard to give an overall review on this, as it's a collection of plays from antiquity where most of the surrounding context is lost. Aeschylus' plays were usually in trilogies and with only one part of a trilogy intact, it makes it hard to appreciate certain aspects of these plays. You can tell that Aeschylus tried to push the envelope, and come up with new technique for what was a relatively new medium at the time. From reading the introduction by the translator Philip Velacott, I get the s ...more
M. Milner
Four plays, three of them by the ancient Greek playwright Aechylus (is Prometheus Bound by his hand? maybe) are included in this volume translated by the late Philip Vellacott. Each of the plays are interesting reading, especially The Persians, although something is lost in their fragmentary state; as I understand it, each were originally part of a trilogy and we're missing two-thirds of their stories.

For me, The Persians is interesting in it's topic: it recounts the battle of Salamis from the
...more
Taka
Good but incomplete--

All the plays here - with the possible exception of The Persians - are parts of trilogies forever lost to us. As a consequence, although they promise much to come, some of them are uninteresting and static at best. Such is the case with Seven Against Thebes and The Suppliant Maidens, albeit the latter is mildly interesting as the beginning of a great tragedy that leads to a bloody massacre of 49 husbands at the hands of 49 maidens. But not so with Seven Against Thebes, whose
...more
Meghan
Each of these four plays were once part of their own trilogies. It is sad the other parts have not survived. Two of the plays, Prometheus Bound and The Suppliants, were excellent. I really felt the loss of the other plays then because I was left hanging in the middle of a story of which I wanted the end!

Prometheus Bound starts as Prometheus is being banded to the mountain crag where he will serve out Zeus' punishment for giving fire to mortals. Io makes an appearance (one of her descendants will
...more
Nathan Jerpe
Doesn't measure up to Paul Roche's translations. However, as far as I know Roche only translated The Oresteia and Prometheus Bound, so for the others Lattimore will have to do.

As an exercise I put up Roche's PB alongside of this one. From the first page I was amazed at how much translation really matters. Here, it's the difference between a little splashing in the rain and being swept beneath the current.

Chris
Aeschylus is my favorite of the Greek playwrights. This volume begins with the least accessible of his surviving plays - The Suppliant Maidens - but follows with the most remarkable of all extant Greek drama. The Persians displays a sensitivity, even sympathy, for the current Greek enemy (against whom Aeschylus himself had fought in battle) almost unparalleled in history - only the Christian ideal ("Father forgive them...") surpasses it. Seven Against Thebes is a personal favorite; for proof of ...more
Sarah
I had to read Prometheus Bound, which is in this book for school.
This was a very interesting play. It was interesting to see how and why Prometheus was bound. I really liked reading about Zeus' rule of the Gods. If you read this, you might want to brush up on Greek mythology. I had some difficulty with understanding this play due to this.
Thomas
I read this in Sommerstein's Loeb edition, which I can't find here on GR, but I'm assuming that the translation is the same as the one in the Peguin edition.

These plays don't rise to the level of any in the Oresteia trilogy, but there are moments of brilliance that Sommerstein captures very well. These are some of the oldest plays we have and will strike new readers as strange, but they show the changing face of tragedy and must be seen from an historical perspective as well as a dramatic one.

T
...more
Brendan Boehning
Not "drama" as commonly understood, but rather pure poetry striving to resolve the fundamental conflict between passion and reason. Beautiful and indispensable.
Charles
In college I tracked down 27 different translations of Prometheus Bound. Interestingly Henry David Thoreau translated it in college. I was looking for the most stageable version. I'm not sure I found one that fit my vague ideas of stageability, but many did not read very well. I was also surprised by the great variety in line readings. Some were in verse, some prose. Some were written in fancy flowery language and some were earthly prosaic. I did learn that Ancient Greek was a polysyballic langu ...more
Cymru Roberts
Aeschylus in the editorial hands of Grene and Lattimore is stunning. The language is some of the most gripping I have read. In its juxtaposition of the divine and earthly, both in terms of individuals and themes, Aeschylus brings the glory of Greek Mythology to full fruition. This attention to balance, between characters -- when they argue (and their rhetoric is always beautifully eloquent, with the ultimate aim being Modesty) -- and in plot -- brother against brother, war in general, brings abo ...more
علی
آشیل یا آخیلوس (متولد 525 قبل از میلاد) اولین از سه تراژدی نویس مشهور یونان (آشیل، اوری پید، سوفوکلس) بوده که به پدر ترازدی هم مشهور است. ارسطو می نویسد که او شمار شخصیت های تراژدی را از یک نفر به دو نفر افزایش داد. تنها هفت تراژدی از حدود نود اثر او بر جای مانده، که در مورد یکی از آنها، "پرومته در زنجیر"، تردید وجود دارد. آشیل اهل آتن بوده و گویا در جنگ "سالامیس" (بین پارس و یونان) شرکت داشته و حدود 450 سال پیش از میلاد فوت کرده است. گفته می شود که بر سنگ قبرش نوشته اند؛ "آخیلوس اهل آتن، زیر ای ...more
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990
Aeschylus (525 BC – 456 BC) was an ancient Greek playwright. He is often recognized as the father or the founder of tragedy, and is the earliest of the three Greek tragedians whose plays survive extant, the others being Sophocles and Euripides. According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in plays to allow for conflict among them; previously, characters interacted only with the cho ...more
More about Aeschylus...
The Oresteia Agamemnon (Oresteia, #1) Prometheus Bound The Persians Eumenides

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