Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes by Isabelle Torrance

By Isabelle Torrance

Accessible introductions to historical tragedies. each one quantity discusses
the major subject matters of a play and the significant advancements in sleek
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 warfare
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 finally turns into transparent via their simultaneous fratricide and
the extinction of the Theban house.

This e-book areas the drama
within the context of the hooked up trilogy of which it used to be an element. It
investigates the play's tensions among urban and relatives and the
omnipresence of curse and formality in the spiritual and political
environment of 5th century Greece. The drama's specialize in the realm of
male warriors, and its stark competition of the sexes throughout the girl
Chorus, is analysed by way of warrior ideology in epic and Greek
understanding of applicable behaviour. eventually, it explores the complex
legacy of the play via its impression on Sophocles and Euripides,
and exhibits how the drama's condemnation of civil conflict has been exploited
as an analogue for occasions in smooth history.

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Extra resources for Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes

Sample text

233-46) who swears by Agamemnon’s sceptre. But the effect there is very different. Achilles is attempting to exercise some control in the power dynamics of the Achaeans by refusing to fight. It is appropriate for him to use the sceptre of Agamemnon, symbol of power over the army, to make his statement. There is no indication that he sees the sceptre as superseding the power of the gods. 321-32. By contrast Parthenopaeus explicitly values his spear above any god in a dangerous way, and his oath to sack Thebes will remain unfulfilled.

Thus, when the brothers kill each other they are daimonioi ‘possessed’ (892, 1001). The oath ritual of the attackers The divine forces which the attackers call to their aid are unusual. Their oath ritual (42-51) is one of the most solemn pacts in archaic or classical Greek poetry. The slaughter of an animal is common enough in formal oath ritual (sheep are slaughtered as oath sacrifices in the Iliad, for example), but there are several grim features of the attackers’ oath ritual in Seven. The deities invoked, Ares, Enyo, and Terror, are violent and unpredictable, and occur only here in this combination in an oath.

37 Mortals can, to a certain extent, threaten gods into coming to their aid. In Euripides’ Iphigenia among the Taurians, for example, Orestes reports how he threatened to starve himself in Apollo’s temple if the god refused to come to his aid (974-5), an act which would cause serious pollution. This concept of reciprocity is reflected at various points in Seven, including in the traditional prayer formula where the deity petitioned would be given a reason for granting aid. So Eteocles closes his prayer in the opening scene with the words ‘when the polis enjoys success, it honours its gods’ (77).

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