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Agamemnon

(Oresteia #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  18,591 ratings  ·  444 reviews
Treating ancient plays as living drama. Classical Greek drama is brought vividly to life in this series of new translations. Students are encouraged to engage with the text through detailed commentaries, including0 suggestions for discussion and analysis. In addition, numerous practical questions stimulate ideas on staging and encourage students to explore the play's drama ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published November 6th 2003 by Cambridge University Press (first published -458)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,591 ratings  ·  444 reviews


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Start your review of Agamemnon (Oresteia, #1)
Sean Barrs
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
These Ancient Greeks never learn do they?

What do you honestly think would happen if you sacrificed your own daughter to the Gods? Yes you may appease their wrath for the war crimes you committed in Troy; yes, you may insure a safe return across the sea for your men; yes, you may have bought yourself some temporary time. But at what cost?

The Gods are abated but you’ve unleashed anger just as frightening, that of your wife. You just can’t go round killing your family and expect to get away with i
...more
James
Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Agamemnon, the first of the Orestia plays written in 458 BC by Aeschylus. Peter Arnott, a noted scholar and critic, has stated that, “The Agamemnon is a bitter indictment of war, of the folly of bloodshed, of the hardships of fighting, of the misery at home.” I couldn't agree more...

The Trojan War began when Paris and the married Helen ran back to Troy because Helen belonged to Menelaus. For over ten years Menelaus, Agamemnon, and their troops fought
...more
Riku Sayuj

The First Strike

Each of the plays that make up The Oresteia tetralogy are supposed to be stand alone pieces as well as perfect complements to each other. All the themes that The Oresteia is to explore later are planted and ready for internal development at the end of Agamemnon. Aeschylus works magic with the triadic structure of the plays and of greek rituals (the fourth was probably a conventional satyr play and is lost to us) by going for a feeling of tit-for-tat of conventional revenge storie
...more
Linda
Apr 18, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"In war, the first casualty is truth."

Aeschylus's Oresteia trilogy examines revenge, retribution, and fate in the house of Atreus. Agamemnon, the trilogy's first play, depicts the murder of the King and his trophy slave Cassandra, daughter of the King of Troy, on his return to Mycenae from the Trojan War.

Ten years earlier, before setting out for war, Agamemnon offended the goddess Artemis, and she stopped the winds, keeping his fleet of 100 ships from sailing to battle. He learned from the proph
...more
Kathleen
I’m assuming no one cares about spoilers in this well-known tale, the first in the Oresteia trilogy about revenge killings.

A pre-story event sets this tale in motion. Agamemnon had the ships all ready to go to Troy for the war, but massive winds came to prevent them from sailing. Of course, these were brought on by the goddess Artemis, who was angry at Agamemnon for something, and of course, Agamemnon had to do something about it, so he sacrificed his daughter Iphigeneia. Of course!

“Her pleas, h
...more
David Sarkies
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tragedy
The Homecoming of Agamemnon
02 July 2012

This is the first part of the only Greek trilogy that we have. The play is set after the Trojan War in the city of Argos, of which Agamemnon is the ruler. Agamemnon's wife learns of the defeat of the Trojans and the imminent return of her husband through the use of a series of beacons. However while she is eagerly awaiting her husband's return, it is a different scenario from Odysseus' wife Penelope, who remained faithful to her husband for the twenty year
...more
Vivian
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Don't mess with the mama bear.

"Perched over his body like a hateful raven, in hoarse notes she chants her song of triumph."

Agamemnon and his brother Menelaus with their women are property attitudes have never been favs. Not sure what Aggy was thinking would happen when he got back after the whole Iphigenia incident. Of course, the whole Aegisthus sidebar is a fun twist, and I see where Shakespeare got his inspiration for Titus Andronicus.

All Hail the Hero!
Sucks to be Cassandra.
Clytaemestra gets
...more
Alex ✴︎
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
God of the long road,
Apollo Apollo my destroyer-
you destroy me once, destroy me twice -

A classic Greek tragedy- haunting, beautifully written, and telling of the pitfalls of cyclical vengeance. It definitely builds up a sense of foreboding. Themes surrounding power, sacrifice, revenge and righteousness.
For their mad outrage of a queen we raped their city - we were right.
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have not read a lot of Greek plays so it took me awhile to understand what was happening. I should have read the introduction first, which would have made events clearer.

However, I'm also glad I didn't because it allowed me to arrive at my own conclusions.

For those of you who don't know, Agamemnon was Commander-in-Chief of the Greeks who fought at Troy. He sacrifices his daughter to appease Artemis. This play is one of vengeance and also intrigue.

Agamemnon comes home with Cassandra, his prize
...more
Grace, Queen of Crows and Tomes
This first play of this trilogy opens up with what happened to Agamemnon when he returned home from Troy. Read this to have a bloody good time 😉
elena
Jan 21, 2022 rated it really liked it
Screaming crying rending my garments
Momina Masood
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, graeco-roman
It's interesting how the Chorus used to enjoy a more elaborate function in Aeschylus than in the later Sophocles. Not really a passive, detached "omniscient narrator" here; the Chorus takes on the characters head on, getting involved in the action of the play. Which was slightly hilarious during the row with Aegisthus but never mind. :P

I began with George C. W. Warr's translation: Astoundingly thorough, amazing illustrations, meticulously explained notes, but too challenging for the beginner. T
...more
Elliott
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Best Greek play I have read so far. Excellent use of the Greek chorus (better than I've seen in any other Greek play). The symbolism is precise and well written/used.

I think this book should be taught for Women's Literature classes because of the interesting roles of Cassandra and Clytaemestra. Each in their own are complex characters that steal the play.

Definitely a must read of Greek literature.
...more
Lemar
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-lit, plays
"The best told lie bears but a short-lived fruit." Ok so that's still true. Aeschylus, an acknowledged master of Greek drama (circa 450 BCE) brought characters to life that were already calcified at the time he produced this play. His magic still works. Agamemnon, self-centered but brave, his wife Clytemnestra, long suffering, in fact the epitome of long suffering. Cassandra, now a slave, still relegated to speak prophecy that is dismissed. And finally that clever creation of Greek drama, the Ch ...more
Alice
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, cryptic, mythology
"You try me out as if I were a woman and vain; but my heart is not fluttered as I speak before you."

I was impressed by encountering such a proud and strong image of women in a Greek tragedy. The main two characters are nothing like the stereotype of women today or through history, Clytemnestra and Cassandra are extremely the oppsite extremes of the female possible personalities.

The first is the wife of Agamemnon and queen of Mycenae, she is the powerful precursor of today's femme fetale. She is
...more
Bruno
The first part of the known trilogy Oresteia is one amazing work and I've put it on my number 3 spot,because of it's discussions about the plans which comes to fruition at the end of the tragedy.It revolves around the intentions of the Agamemnon's wife to assassinate her husband,as a payment for a crime her husband has done so many years ago.This is one of the works (which we will later see with Euripides and his tragedies) where female characters shine,as we see their perspective,as a woman,wif ...more
Illiterate
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love/war, jealousy/revenge, murder/justice.
Garrett Cash
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This play was really quite a shock. I came to it after having read Sophocles' Theban plays, expecting more or less the same sort of style. What I discovered was that while there were particular similarities, Aeschylus and Sophocles have very different takes on the way that plays should be written.

The most noticeable difference is the role of the Chorus. From having read Sophocles, my take on the Chorus was that it really had three options. They could either talk as a collective group or city li
...more
Mel Bossa
In this play, Eschyle is grandiose. It's a longer play, but it had my full attention. Clytemnestre, Agamemnon's wife has been waiting ten years to avenge her daughter's sacrifice at the hands of her husband who'd believed an oracle saying that the winds would only pick up and bring his men to Troy is he shed the blood of his young daughter. The brilliance of the play lies in the way Eschyle slowly reveals Agamennon's fate.
At first it seems that Clytemnestre is thrilled hear the tales of victory
...more
Sesana
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology, classics, play
I kind of feel like a bad person because I've never the Oresteia before. I'm fixing that now, but I think it'll take awhile for me to get through these. It isn't the story. The story of Orestes is wonderfully exciting, full of violence and intense emotion. But ancient Greek drama was different than what I'm used to, and I don't think I like the format. Sure, there are some truly great lines ("Better to die on your feet than live on your knees.") and it is a fairly quick play. I'm glad I read it, ...more
Josh
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Man must suffer to be wise" ...more
Sprinkled Pages
Read for school
Jade (beauty.andherbooks)
Sep 06, 2022 rated it really liked it
Had no clue what was going on the whole time, but husband getting stabbed in the bathtub was pretty funny.
Barry
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, plays, classics
This is Part One of the Oresteia Trilogy. Compared to the openers of other Greek trilogies, I would rank this above Prometheus Bound (which I found pretty dull), but below Oedipus Rex.
Ramona Boldizsar
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays
[this post is spoiled]
Here I find myself again, realizing how different is Aeschylus' style from Sophocles'. I have already underlined my inclination towards Sophocles (in my review of Aeschylus' "Prometheus bound"), so I shall not mention that again. In fact, Aeschylus tends to be, in a certain manner, more poetic than Sophocles because of his tendency to use the chorus to cry more about what is happening (therefore, probably trying to make the tragedy... more dramatic). It is much more lamenti
...more
old book sniffer
clytemnestra is a girl boss and agamemnon is a d*#$ he had it coming. it obviously a great play with an awesome plot. it was quite hard to read since it’s not really meant to be read but performed, but i enjoyed it anyway.
Mike
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-owned
4.5 stars. I have been saving the best of Aeschylus for last with the Oresteia, and I wasn’t disappointed. Unlike his other surviving works, Agamemnon has a better balance of dramatic tension and long expository speeches, with an especially effective chorus. Indeed, when they are threatened at the end by Aegisthus, we all feel a sense of injustice from this blood-thirsty tyrant. There is a sense of foreboding as Aegisthus and Clytemnestra wade into the “waves of purple” (both symbolically as the ...more
Rasheed Lewis
Oct 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, great-books
The truth still holds while Zeus still holds the throne:
the one who acts must suffer --
that is law. Who can tear from the veins
the bad seed, the curse? The race is welded to its ruin.


Contrast Odysseus and Penelope's marriage against Agamemnon and Clytaemnestra's. Penelope exemplifies the femininity of an ideal wife. In her husband's decade-long absence, against all odds of his returning, she remains loyal to Odysseus even as suitors queue within the palace. Penelope takes no part in violence
...more
José Cruz Parker
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Just as verbose as other Greek literature from the same period, if not more. It is infinitely quotable, on the other hand, filled as it is with awesome lines and speeches. Not as interesting as Oedipus Rex or the Iliad, however. It is a must-read, nevertheless.
The Smol Moth
CLYTEMNESTRA DID NOTHING WRONG

(rip Cassandra, though, you deserved better queen)
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Reading Classics,...: [Agamemnon] Hubris 6 24 Jun 04, 2017 05:36PM  
Reading Classics,...: Agamemnon (458 BCE) - #5.0 31 24 Sep 23, 2016 11:26AM  

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Aeschylus (525 BC – 456 BC)
Greek Αισχύλος , Ésquilo in Portuguese; Esquilo in Spanish; Eschyle en français; Eschil in romanian; Эсхил in russian.

Aeschylus, an ancient Greek playwright, is often recognized as the father or the founder of tragedy. He is the earliest of the three Greek tragedians whose plays survive extant, the others being Sophocles and Euripides. According to Aristotle, he expan
...more

Other books in the series

Oresteia (4 books)
  • The Libation Bearers (Ορέστεια, #2)
  • Eumenides (Ορέστεια, #3)
  • The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides

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