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Agamemnon

(Oresteia #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  13,493 ratings  ·  254 reviews
Aeschylus' Agamemnon, first produced in 458 BC, is the opening play in his Oresteian trilogy. Agamemnon returns home after the Trojan Wars with his concubine Cassandra and is murdered by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus. The ensuing blood feud continues until the third and final play, Eumenides, when peace is finally restored to the house of the Atreidae. It ...more
Paperback, 283 pages
Published October 8th 1987 by Oxford University Press (first published -458)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,493 ratings  ·  254 reviews


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Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
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 the Troj
...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
David Sarkies
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Theatre Lovers, Historians
Recommended to David by: David Hester
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
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
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
Momina Masood
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
Josh
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Man must suffer to be wise"
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: play, classics, mythology
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
Grace the Book Queen
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 😉
Tony
Jan 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Aeschylus. AGAMEMNON. (458B.C.). ***. I remember having to read this play – along with the other two in the trilogy, “The Libation Bearers,” and “The Eumenides” – as a freshman at college. I thought at the time (and still think so) that the play needed some lightening up; maybe some chorus girls in tights bursting in at some point. Of course there is already the chorus, but they don’t seem like the dancing type. The play starts after the end of the Trojan War, and all the men – at least those no ...more
Mike
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Alice
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cryptic, greek, school
"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 trragedy. 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 i
...more
Ramona Boldizsar
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Garrett Cash
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
Matthew
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How far do the classical legends of the past speak to the audience of today? Do they provide universal themes that can be understood in our own age, or is their style and content firmly rooted in their ancient roots, leaving them with nothing to say to us anymore?

The argument for the latter position is stronger than might be first supposed. Outside of scholars of the period, few people read Aeschylus, and few return to read his works again and again.

The style of the plays is not one that is eas
...more
Maan Kawas
Aug 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful play, with a beautiful poetic language! It is a play about curse and revenge. First, Clytemnestra seeks revenges for her daughter Iphigenia, whose husband Agamemnon sacrificed her in order to satisfy the Goddess Artemis and obtain her assistance to the fleet. Also it tells about the fall of Troy as result of the ten-year war took place because of Paris, who abducted Helen, the wife of the Greek king Menelaus the brother of Agamemnon. Finally it is about the revenge of Aegisthus, Agam ...more
Elliott
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jack Siebert
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personal Response

The book is good. It would be really captivating to see it performed, however. Even if you just had a small group and read parts, it would be better.

Plot Summary

Agamemnon has just returned after a victory at Troy. He has brought a prize home with him, Cassandra, the daughter of King Priam of Troy, who has been blessed by Apollo with the gift of prophecy. She foretells to the chorus of elders that murder is being planned in the house. She doesn’t directly say it, but she eludes t
...more
Miles Smith
Venerable and poignant

Aeschylus epic poem is a a sort of Jeremiad that shows how reckless needless wars can be. The hubris of Agamemnon creates discord and strife to degrees he never imagined. His victory in Troy came at the price of his daughter’s life. The mysterious nature of the Trojan prophetess Cassandra illustrates the futility of even the greatest gifts in causes without virtue.
Emjen Enla
I read this play for a drama and theater history class I'm taking. It's a very quick read that's well written but also extremely violent (even though no one dies onstage in Ancient Greek drama). I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a direct sequel to the Iliad because there are a lot of the same characters. I wasn't a fan of ending because it took away Clytemnestra's agency and made her just another woman who's been manipulated by a man.
Eesha Sajid
its kind of a book one reserves for obligatory reading....
Clytemnestra rocks! funnily enough, the name sake of the drama has one scene only.... and as usual remains an insufferable brute in here as well just like its every single adaptation....
Sarah Beth
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Greek tragedies! Very exciting to read again and discuss with my students. Beware the Curse of the House of Atreus!
Isabelle Leo
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u4, dad-books
Good God
Majestic Terhune
"Oh what a brilliant day it is for vengeance!"
Erica Zahn
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tragedy, drama, classical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julia
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
The entire The Oresteia: Agamemnon / The Libation Bearers / The Eumenides is excellent, but for me Agamemnon is the best of the work of Aeschylus. Of the three great Greek dramatists--Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Eurípedes--Aeschylus it the warrior, with Sophocles as the philosopher, and Euripedes as the existentialist.

The story of Clytemnestra's revenge on her husband for the sacrifice of Iphigenia is well-known, but reading this play brings all the that vengeance into a blaze of fury. Euripedes'
...more
annie
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 / 5 stars: read this for my classical civilizations class. this is where my rating system based on level of enjoyment fails me because i'm not entirely sure it's fair to rate agamemnon purely on how much i liked reading it... i know next to nothing about poetic meter and such so i am certain i missed out on a lot of what probably makes agamemnon so great. also sidenote: the text was soo difficult to understand pretty much all throughout the play, even with the footnotes and additional internet ...more
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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 expande
...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
“Wisdom comes through suffering.
Trouble, with its memories of pain,
Drips in our hearts as we try to sleep,
So men against their will
Learn to practice moderation.
Favours come to us from gods.”
235 likes
“My will is mine...I shall not make it soft for you.” 168 likes
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