By Simon Goldhill
Simon Goldhill specializes in the play's themes--justice, sexual politics, violence, and the position of guy in old Greek culture--in this normal advent to Aeschylus' Oresteia, some of the most vital and influential of all Greek dramas. After exploring how Aeschylus constructs a fable for town within which he lived, a last bankruptcy considers the impression of the Oresteia on extra modern theater. The volume's prepared constitution and advisor to additional analyzing will make it a useful reference for college kids and lecturers. First version Hb (1992): 0-521-40293-X First variation Pb (1992): 0-521-40853-9
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Extra info for Aeschylus: The Oresteia (Landmarks of World Literature (New))
And the first word of the epic is indeed ‘man’ – its subject defined from the start. It is this normative – the way it projects norms – thrust of the Odyssey that encourages the paradigmatic, didactic role it plays in the fifth century. Now, the story of Orestes is always told in the Odyssey to be exemplary. The story is told to Telemachus to tell him how properly to be a young man; it is told to Odysseus to warn him of the perils of women and returning home. Orestes starts his life in literature as an example.
Yet it is also as a sexually corrupt woman that Clytemnestra is figured. There is throughout the Greek world little interest in the sort of psychological tales of adultery familiar through modern Western literature: personal fulfilment through emotional satisfaction plays a far more restricted role in fifth-century Athens than in postRomantic culture (Tanner). Adultery is perceived more as a social threat. Thus, Helen’s adultery requires a full military expedition from Greece to take revenge, and it has implications throughout the fabric of society.
The Phaeacians inhabit a society as excessive in its 44 THE ORESTEIA attributes of civilization as the Cyclops is without them. Both sorts of society have to be left behind by Odysseus. Both sorts of society help define – positively and negatively – the world of Ithaca to which Odysseus is returning. On a further level, Telemachus too travels around the Greek world, visiting different human societies trying to find out about his father. His journey is also a journey that instructs him in the business of adult social interaction.