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By Aeschylus

Aeschylus' Persae, first produced in 472 BC, is the oldest surviving Greek tragedy. it's also the single extant Greek tragedy that offers, no longer with a mythological topic, yet with an occasion of modern historical past, the Greek defeat of the Persians at Salamis in 480 BC. not like Aeschylus' different surviving performs, it truly is it appears now not a part of a hooked up trilogy. during this new version A. F. Garvie encourages the reader to evaluate the Persae by itself phrases as a drama. it isn't a patriotic social gathering, or a play with a political manifesto, yet a real tragedy, which, faraway from providing an easy ethical of hybris punished via the gods, poses questions relating human ache to which there aren't any effortless solutions. In his advent Garvie defends the play's constitution opposed to its critics, and considers its type, the potential of thematic hyperlinks among it and the opposite performs awarded by means of Aeschylus at the comparable party, its staging, and the country of the transmitted textual content. The statement develops in better aspect a number of the conclusions of the creation.

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Extra resources for Aeschylus: Persae

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Everyone wants to be prosperous, and everyone is aware that excessive prosperity is dangerous, but no one knows when he is about to cross the line that separates the two. It is only when disaster strikes that he knows that he has crossed it and that he must have incurred the resentment of the gods. In terms of the moral concept of hybris the position is more complicated. Why does Aeschylus use the word hybris for the first time in this scene? Scholars give two conflicting answers. For some the concept of hybris, though not the word, has obviously been present from the very beginning of the play; the audience understands that excessive prosperity is itself a form of hybris.

Aeschylus has set out side by side amoral and moral explanations of human suffering, and he has left us to choose between them. ). In the last resort he is no better off than his son. It is not that what Darius says is untrue, or unimportant. Gagarin (46–52) goes too far in describing Xerxes’ impiety as ‘a relatively minor factor in the action of Persae’, Harrison (90) that ‘Darius’ authority is to a significant extent false’, but they are certainly right to oppose the view that Darius is the mouthpiece of the poet.

For the whole ‘tetralogy’ see also Mette, Der verlorene Aischylos (Berlin 1963) 3–14, B. Deforge, Eschyle, poète cosmique (Paris 1986) 63–6, and, on the satyr-play, West, Studies 71. ’s play; see Hall, Theatrical cast 116–18. xliv Introduction Aeschylus’ play, and perhaps of the two Phineus plays of Sophocles. Some have found in the theme of prophecy a link between this play and Persae, in which Darius predicts the defeat at Plataea. It has been suggested too that the oracles of 739–42 n. might have been revealed by Phineus to the Argonauts.

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