Brenda's Reviews > Thyestes

Thyestes by Seneca
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's review
Aug 28, 2008

it was ok
Recommended to Brenda by: Chris
Recommended for: Classical theatre lovers, C. Churchill lovers, peeps who can take the horror

Caryl Churchill's streamline translation of Seneca's "Thysestes." Thought Atreus has regained his thrown, he's still seething over his ouster by his brother Thyestes. He invites his brother back to the kingdom to ostensibly bury the hatchet but his true intentions are altogether more dark and murderous.

It was hard to take the sheer anger and hatred of Atreus.





He kills his three young nephews and serves them in a stew to their father (his brother Thyestes) then displays their heads to their unsuspecting father. It's a nasty trick their own grandfather Tantalus used against the gods (I don't know the reason for this original horror as I haven't read that tale - would like to know, though). The horrific violence and heartlessness recurs throughout the generations and no-one learns. It's just heart-breaking and I don't know that I could sit through a production of this. I don't mind a lot of violence and anger, I don't even mind when people don't learn a whole lot from events because that's what happens in real life, and it's we as the audience who learn from their block-headedness. But the killing of the innocent children and feeding them to their father, a man who honestly thought he'd come to be reconciled to his brother, is perhaps too much even for me.

The plain-spokeness of Churchill's translation may be true to the original, but it leaves the tale so dry and bare, I just don't care for it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 11, 2008 – Finished Reading
August 28, 2008 – Shelved

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