By Isabelle Torrance
Accessible introductions to old tragedies. every one quantity discusses
the major issues of a play and the crucial advancements in glossy
criticism, whereas additionally addressing the play's old context and the
history of its functionality and adaptation.
One of our earliest surviving Greek tragedies, Aeschylus' Seven opposed to Thebes
is an awfully wealthy poetic textual content. It dramatises the civil conflict
between the sons of Oedipus ?Polynices, the exile, and Eteocles,
reigning king of Thebes. Polynices marches on Thebes to regain his
throne besides six different champion warriors and their armies, however the
expedition is doomed, and the which means of Oedipus' enigmatic curse on his
sons eventually turns into transparent via their simultaneous fratricide and
the extinction of the Theban house.
This booklet locations the drama
within the context of the attached trilogy of which it used to be an element. It
investigates the play's tensions among urban and kinfolk and the
omnipresence of curse and formality in the spiritual and political
environment of 5th century Greece. The drama's specialize in the area of
male warriors, and its stark competition of the sexes throughout the woman
Chorus, is analysed by way of warrior ideology in epic and Greek
understanding of acceptable behaviour. ultimately, it explores the complex
legacy of the play via its impression on Sophocles and Euripides,
and indicates how the drama's condemnation of civil conflict has been exploited
as an analogue for occasions in glossy history.
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Additional info for Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes
When Orestes must kill his mother to avenge his father, he wavers in his resolve (Libation Bearers 899). Eteocles is remarkably unfazed by the thought of killing his brother and Polynices similarly welcomes the conflict. Amphiaraus has blamed Polynices for the expedition. It is little wonder that Eteocles subsequently praises him as a wise and prudent man. But Amphiaraus first blames Tydeus for inciting the campaign, 35 Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes calling him a ‘murderer’, ‘a servant of Phonos’ (murder personified), and a wrecker of his polis (572-5).
He has ‘become mixed up against his will with impious men of arrogant speech ... and, Zeus willing, he will be dragged down with them’ (611-14). In this instance of group justice, Amphiaraus will be laid low by the gods like the rest. Numbers and naming In a highly superstitious culture, numbers and names could have special powers in the context of prayer and curse. In Seven we see the numbers three and seven have particular significance, numbers which are also considered significant in Biblical scriptures.
The speed with which Eteocles makes his decision is also noteworthy. After the news that Polynices is at the seventh gate, he utters three brief lines of reflection on the terrible fate of his genos in spoken trimeters (653-5), not in the lyric form generally used in Greek tragedy to express lament. But there is no hesitation such as we find elsewhere in Aeschylus. For instance, when Agamemnon decides to sacrifice his daughter to get fair winds for Troy, he struggles with his alternatives (Agamemnon 20517).
Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes by Isabelle Torrance