Essays Aeschylus Oresteia

Let’s think of times in human history when, even after the worst has happened, people have done the right thing.” She mentioned the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa without which, she maintains, that country would be in a state of perpetual civil war, embroiled in a bitter past they could never escape.

The principle at work is that both the perpetrators and the victims of violence have been exiled by those experiences from their community and that something must be done to reinstate them into the circle of the human.

I came to a dead stop and could see no way forward, not only in the play but in my life.

While commiserating with a friend who works in human rights, mostly in Africa, I said, “This is not the first time people have felt this way.

While the young Aeschylus experienced the immediate Persian threat to Athens, his maturity coincided with the city's Golden Age, which witnessed the triumph of early Greek democracy and the consolidation of political and cultural power.

Aeschylus probably began to write in his youth; some scholars date his first production, Persians, as early as the year 499 b.c.How do we transcend the cycles of blood that have created so much of the misery of human existence since our very beginnings?Aeschylus considers this problem most deeply and coolly in the third play, his, which is my third act. He told me to trust my instincts and to feel free to step as far from the source material as I needed in order to make a new version of these ancient plays for our times.The only thing he stipulated was that the three plays be turned into one unified arc of action that could be performed in one night by a single cast.It’s born of the belief that only by bringing us all into the same place and hearing the truth if we can speak it, can we heal.I thought, if I can find a way to bring that essential grace to the third act of my play, I might be able to write my way to something like hope in these dark times. We don’t offer judgement at the end so much as the mystery of mercy, born of the act of listening and recognition.Athens in her ancient glory may have fallen, as her playwrights and poets always warned she might, but the scent of her lingers all these centuries hence with the handful of plays we are still marveling at.The world has kept some of that beauty and the memory of her best dreams.Aeschylus's earliest play, Persians, is unusual in that it is the first account by a great poet of a significant historical event in which he himself had participated.It recounts in extraordinarily vivid detail, the defeat of Persian King Xerxes' forces as Salamis.


Comments Essays Aeschylus Oresteia

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