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Aeschylus: The Earlier Plays and Related Studies

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 194
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Conacher's close readings of the text and sensitive analysis of the main problems in the plays will be of benefit to students, especially those encountering these plays for the first time, either in Greek or in translation.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6467-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. PART I

    • CHAPTER ONE Persae (The Persians)
      (pp. 3-35)

      ThePersaeof Aeschylus, a fine play which has been much misunderstood and undervalued, is of great interest to us for many reasons. Not the least of these is the fact that it is the only extant Greek tragedy based not on ancient myth but on nearly contemporary history, and so is the first historical play in extant Western literature. More important still, perhaps, is the point that it shows us, even at this early period in the history of Greek drama (thePersae, at 472 BC, is now generally admitted to be the earliest Greek play that we possess),²...

    • CHAPTER TWO Septem (The Seven against Thebes) and its trilogy
      (pp. 36-74)

      The Seven against Thebes(or theSeptem, as it may conveniently be called) is the third play in its trilogy. A papyrus fragment (P Oxy 2256 fr 2) supplies the names of the preceding two plays (LaiusandOedipus) in the trilogy, along with the date of production (467 BC) and the fact that it won the first prize.¹ As far as we can tell from the one fully extant Aeschylean trilogy (theOresteia), although the individual plays of a trilogy can make dramatic sense on their own, their full force and meaning can only be realized from seeing them...

    • CHAPTER THREE Supplices (The Suppliants) and its trilogy
      (pp. 75-112)

      For many years, Aeschylus′Suppliceswas regarded by the great majority of classicists as the earliest extant Aeschylean play. The main basis for this view was the prominence of its Chorus, due not only to the high proportion of the play devoted to its songs but also to its central importance, as a group personality, to the dramatic situation with which the play is concerned. This feature (when treated without further discrimination), together with the limited degree of characterization involved in the roles assigned to the first and especially to the second actor, fitted the general awareness that Greek tragedy...

  5. PART II

    • CHAPTER FOUR Imagery
      (pp. 115-149)

      There have been many studies of Aeschylean imagery, both of its alleged leading characteristics and of its use in individual plays.¹ It may be useful to cite at the outset a few general observations which occur, in one form or another, in several of them, and of which this survey will provide ample exemplification.

      Much has been made, particularly among critics of a generation or so ago, of Aeschylus′ alleged tendency to employ in each of his plays a ′dominant image′ which typifies, or even symbolizes, the main theme of the play.² As we reread the plays, we shall find...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Chorus
      (pp. 150-176)

      Of the various characteristics of Greek tragedy, none reflects the ritualistic elements in its origins as clearly as the songs and dances of the Chorus. As Walther Kranz has shown (at least with regard to the use of the Chorus), Aeschylus′ dramatic art stands at the boundary between ritual and drama, and Kranz has illustrated this point by several observations of ways in which Aeschylus has exploited, in secular contexts, various originally ritualistic or ′cultist′ elements.¹ It is true that in some, though by no means all, of these observations, Kranz, like other earlier commentators on Aeschylus′ use of the...

  6. Bibliography
    (pp. 177-184)