Shelves of classics organized by time periods and topics. I'll be working on reading and reviewing them with a one word/one sentence summary, book history, and topics to think about.
Ok. So I can't say this author's name . . . but as far as old plays go, the Oresteia trilogy is pretty good. It was a fast read, had multi-faceted characters, and a lot of topics to think about. As you will see from my one-sentence and one-word summaries below though . . . I would probably put this play under the theme of horror. I mean if it didn't have so many deep topics, I'd probably just plainly list it under horror. I'm extremely surprised I didn't have nightmares last night. Just saying.
One Sentence Summary:
One Word Summary:
So Oresteia is actually a trilogy of plays. (Originally it had four plays but one, Proteus, didn't survive, so we only have the three.) It is (according to Wikipedia) the only surviving example of a Greek Trilogy of plays, so that makes it important.
Wisdom comes through suffering.(Agamemnon Line 211)So men against their willlearn to practice moderation.(Agamemnon Lines 214-215)There’s no security in richesfor the insolent man who kicks asideand pushes from his sightgreat altars of righteousness.(Agamemnon Lines 464-467)It’s the unholy act that breedsmore acts of the same kind.A truly righteous house is blestits children always fair and good.(Agamemnon Lines 899-903)But Righteousness shines outfrom grimy dwellings, honouringthe man who lives in virtue.She turns her eyes awayfrom gold-encrusted mansionswhere men’s hands are black,and moves towards integrity,rejecting power and wealth,
which, though praised, are counterfeit.
Righteousness leads all things
to well-deserved fulfillment.(Agamemnon Lines 913-923)By nature few menpossess the inborn talent to admirea friend’s good fortune without envy.(Agamemnon Lines 976-978)Those who practise moderationin everything they doacquire strength from god,(Eumenides Lines 671-673)
Summary of My Thoughts:
I don't know anything about how the Greek stereotype for women, but this play is confusing in trying to set one for me. One minute their female characters seem powerful, e.g. Clytemnestra running her husband's kingdom? in his absence, addressing her subjects with authority, playing a submissive part only to chop her husband up . . . But then there are quotes from the narrator chorus like "Noble men shall not be subject to the heart of a woman" and " You speak wisely, like a prudent man."
I also couldn't help despising the old chorus women in The Choephoroi because they convinced Oresteus to kill his mother. I just kept thinking that murder in vengeance just begets more murder. Someone has to end the cycle. And this is a great example of how terribly difficult that could be. Who would want to let the murderer who boiled your brothers and fed them to your father live? Nobody! Letting that vengeance go is necessary though. Eventually we have to trust in the system to exact justice (as is done in the last play - albeit with more than a little god control) instead of just going around lopping people's heads off.