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The Complete Greek Tragedies: Aeschylus I: Aeschylus Vol 1 [Paperback]

4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 May 1969 Complete Greek Tragedies
"These authoritative translations consign all other complete collections to the wastebasket."—Robert Brustein, The New Republic

"This is it. No qualifications. Go out and buy it everybody."—Kenneth Rexroth, The Nation

"The translations deliberately avoid the highly wrought and affectedly poetic; their idiom is contemporary. . . .They have life and speed and suppleness of phrase."—Times Education Supplement

"These translations belong to our time. A keen poetic sensibility repeatedly quickens them; and without this inner fire the most academically flawless rendering is dead."—Warren D. Anderson, American Oxonian

"The critical commentaries and the versions themselves. . . are fresh, unpretentious, above all, functional."—Commonweal

"Grene is one of the great translators."—Conor Cruise O'Brien, London Sunday Times

"Richmond Lattimore is that rara avis in our age, the classical scholar who is at the same time an accomplished poet."—Dudley Fitts, New York Times Book Review

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (1 May 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226307786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226307787
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.4 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 446,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very bleak stories 15 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had been readiing Aristophanes which is such fun .Lysistrata and the sex strike and the bawdy homeo-erotic humour of the other plays .This is the oppositie but wonderful verse ,repeating lines so effectively just like modern poetry .
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love it 28 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this as a present for a friend and she really did like it! It's not too expensive and well worth seeing a smile on someone else's face!
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intersting story, but difficult language style 14 Nov 2006
By Graham
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a very human story still relevant now concerning vengence and justice, however the language isn't that easy to follow for a reader new to this genre because many ancient references.

Overall I found it difficult but compelling reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best English 'Oresteia' 21 July 2002
By ben dueholm - Published on Amazon.com
All of the Grene/Lattimore translations I've read have been excellent, but this edition of the Oresteia stands out. Lattimore renders the chori of 'Agamemnon' so hauntingly that they hardly seem translated. The first chorus in particular, with its long sections punctuated by the refrain, "Sing sorrow, sorrow: but good win out in the end" is the best I've ever seen. It makes me shiver.
Greek similies are often tortured in translation, but not in this edition: "the sin / smoulders not, but burns to evil beauty. / As cheap bronze tortured / at the touchstone relapses / to blackness and grime, so this man / tested shows vain..." The poetry is an achievement in itself.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two great wordsmiths come togehter centuries apart 8 July 2000
By Ernest Boehm - Published on Amazon.com
This edition is the materworks of two great men Aeschylus and Richmond Lattimore. I have read a dozen of translations of Aeschylus and this has no rival. As well the whole series edited by Green and Lattimore are the best compelation of all the Greek tragedy to date. Lattimore understand the darkness and the fatilism of greek tragedy. The verse translation is flowing and rythmic as the greek is. The translation is loose and not exacting like Lattimores Iliad but he captures the theme better than a too literal translation would allow.
This is the story of house of Atreus.
Agammenon: Agammenon has just returned from war. His wife Clyesmenstra, plots to kill him to avenge his daughters infanticide by Agammemon. As well it is also revenge by the gods for Agammenons willingness to make this scarifice and leading so many greeks and Trojans to their death in a meaningless war although the gods did not instruct C. to do this. As well A. brings back Cassandara his slave concubine who is cursed to see the future but never to be believed by Apollo. She forsees here own death and those of Agammenon and his troops.
Libatiion Bearers:
In this plays the Apollo sends Orestes to avenge his fathers death which the gods did not sanction. He does so and is attacked by the furies for matericide.
The Furies:
Athena passes judgement on Orestes because even though matercide is a crime it was sanctioned by a god to avenge a king. AS well the furies must be satisfied in there blood lust even if Oresties is found innocent.
The setting for the play is in the most primative of times which allows Aeschylus to create characters who do not follow the mores of his day more believeable. This play may have been the model for Hamlet.
Even after reading 100s of plays since the orestia this is still the most gripping drama that I have read. These plays and Hamelet are my favorites
35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest of Greek Tragedy 8 July 2004
By Frank T. Klus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Aeschylus I (the Oresteia) probably best epitomized Greek tragedy. This compelling trilogy told the stories of endless cycles of violence in the House of Atreus that stretched across generations and only ended when peace and harmony took its place.
In "Agamemnon", the king had just returned from Troy when he is murdered in his bath by his wife and lover. Aegisthus, the son of Thyestes, sought revenge for his father, whom his brother, Atreus, killed two of his sons and fed him to Thyestes. Aegisthus, the surviving son returned to Argos to marry the queen after Agamenon left for Troy. This would make Aegisthus the ruler of Argos. Clytemnestra agreed to this because she hated her husband for sacrificing their oldest daughter, Iphegenia, to appease Artemis.
After Agamenon's death Orestes, only a child at the time, received a decree from the oracle to kill his mother to take revenge on behalf of his father. This is the theme of the "Libation Bearers." But when Orestes kills his mother it unleashes the Furies, primordial goddesses, who avenge Clytemnestra.
In the third play, "The Eumenides" Orestes is put on trial by Athene and is acquitted of the murder of his mother but the Furies are not satisfied. Only a peace-making offer from the goddess to the Furies ended the endless avenging approaches to justice.
The Oresteia centered on the concept of justice. How should a wrong be punished? What Aeschylus pointed out in his plays was that there were always two sides to every story. But it seemed man's fate to only see one side. Neither Orestes nor his sister, Electra, could see the anguish their mother experienced. They could not understand how she could slay their father because they saw no justification for such a brutal act. It was the same argument the Furies made to Athene when they concluded that the slaying of a mother by her son could not be justified. Yet, each time justice was meted out a new need for justice was its outgrowth.
We are faced today with issues much the same as the characters in Aeschylus' plays faced. Is an "eye for an eye" really a valid form of justice. In our own look at terrorism today could Greek tragedy point the way out of the endless cycles of violence?
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quality Work 28 Mar 2000
By James D Coates - Published on Amazon.com
While the language of Lattimore's translation hardly compares with the soaring language he uses in his later version of "Prometheus Bound," this is still an extremely quality edition of Aeschylus' only remaining trilogy. The poetry is crisp and far less obtuse than the unreadable Paul Roche translation, and of course Aeschylus' depiction of human nature,especially in the strained relationship between Agamemnon and his wife Clytemnestra, is always of timeless interest. On balance, a fair treatment of a Greek classic.
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Note on transation 30 Aug 2006
By Joe - Published on Amazon.com
I have read a few things by Lattimore, and while he is touted as the most accurate translator of Greek literature, I find him increadibly difficult to read. His sentences sometimes make no sense at all.

English is a language that depends upon syntax and the order of words in a sentence; Greek is not this way, it is a language with myriad declensions and conjugations, effectively allowing its poets to manipulate a sentence's word order.

Lattimore may simply be too accurate to the Greek originals, because the word order--translated so precisely--simply does not fit well in the English.

I recommend Fagles, who is an amazing translator; and while he is accurate, he also understands the limitations of translating the Greek to English. His sentences are fluid and capture the life of the translation. For Aeschylus, I also recommend Philip Vellacott. Check out Fagles, then check out Vellacott. But please forego the Lattimore translations, unless you really want to understand just the sort of impact a bad translation can have.
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