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The House of Atreus

The House of Atreus

Translated by John Lewin
Introduction by Tyrone Guthrie
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 1966
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 120
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  • Book Info
    The House of Atreus
    Book Description:

    The House of Atreus, adapted by John Lewin was first published in 1966. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions. This adaptation of the classic Greek trilogy is designed for contemporary stage presentation and is the version to be used by the Minnesota Theatre Company or its production of the work at the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. The volume provides the texts of the three plays, Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Furies, and, in addition, a director’s introduction by Sir Tyrone Guthrie and an adapter’s introduction by John Lewin. In his introduction, Guthrie points out that fidelity neither to the literal meaning of the original nor to the distinctive spirit of the Oresteia is necessarily the supreme virtue for a stage version of this work. In performance, he explains, the music of verse is almost as important in conveying its meaning as is the syntax, and thus this version, The House of Atreus, with its simple and lyrical choruses, has been created to provide an interesting and vivid dramatic vehicle. In a perceptive and illuminating discussion of the plays in his introduction, John Lewin demonstrates the need for the kinds of changes he has made in the scripts.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3742-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. The Adapter’s View of The House of Atreus
    (pp. 3-7)
  4. A Version for the Stage
    (pp. 8-10)

    • ACT I Agamemnon
      (pp. 11-48)

      (It is just before dawn. There is a watchman on the roof.)


      O gods, give me an end to this chilly watch.

      It drags on with the dying year while I

      Crouch like a dog above the house of Atreus

      Watching the marching armies of the stars,

      The summer battalions and winter companies;

      But of that other host, no news.

      A flash of fire and I will know the job is done,

      Troy town is taken, my king makes for home,

      And I can come down from this hard and dew-wet bed,

      Where that man-hearted woman who rules the...

    • ACT II The Libation Bearers
      (pp. 49-78)

      (The tomb of Agamemnon. Enter Orestes and Pylades.)


      Hermes, lord of the dead,

      Be with me now. I stand by the grave of my father,

      On the soil I called home.

      (He lays a lock of hair on the tomb)

      Hear me, Father. I leave this lock of hair,

      An offering of manhood and of grief.

      I was not here when they struck you down,

      Not here to stretch out my hand as they carried your corpse to this tomb.

      (A procession of women approaches)

      What does this mean? Has death come again to our house?

      Or does someone...

    • ACT III The Furies
      (pp. 79-111)

      (In the inner sanctuary of the shrine of Apollo is Orestes, surrounded by sleeping Furies. Apollo himself and Hermes stand by him. This area is in shadow. An unlit brazier stands near on a tripod. The area before the temple is dimly lit as by early dawn. Enter here the Pythia, the priestess of Apollo.)


      I praise the dark Mother, the holy Earth,

      First of all sybils, and that famous line

      By which this seat of prophecy was given

      To great Apollo.

      He came from Delos to Parnassus’ ground,

      Sung on his way by the men of this land,...