Aeschylus (c.525 – 456 B.C.)

Aeschylus

Aeschylus (c.525 – 456 B.C.) was the first great tragic poet. He introduced dialogue, the characteristic tragic boot (cothurnus) and mask. He established other conventions, like the performance of violent acts offstage. Before he became a tragic poet, Aeschylus, who wrote a tragedy about the Persians, fought in the Persian War in the battles of Marathon, Salamis, and Plataea.

Only seven of his estimated seventy to ninety plays have survived, and there is a long standing debate regarding his authorship of one of these plays, “Prometheus Bound”, which some believe his son Euphorion actually wrote.

Only seven tragedies have survived intact: The Persians, Seven against Thebes, The Suppliants, the trilogy known as The Oresteia, consisting of the three tragedies Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides, together with Prometheus Bound.

The only complete trilogy of Greek plays by any playwright still extant (save a few missing lines in several spots) is the Oresteia (458 BC), although the satyr play that originally followed it, Proteus, is lost except for some fragments. The trilogy consists of Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers (Choephoroi), and The Eumenides. Together, these plays tell the bloody story of the family of Agamemnon, King of Argos.

#ClassicalWisdom #ClassicalTragedy #AncientGreece #Aeschylus

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