"The Eumenides" was a captivating play with a few minor flaws. To fully understand the play, one must first understand the history that went on before the play took place. "The Eumenides" was written by Aeschylus and is also known as "The Furies", the third play of The Oresteia Trilogy. This play is set around the time period of 1250 B.C., approximately the same time as the Trojan War. The main character of the play is Orestes from Argos. In the plays before "The Eumenides", Orestes killed his mom, Clytemnestra, who killed Orestes' dad, Agamemnon, after he returned home from war. Orestes was told by Apollo to kill his mom in order to avenge his father's death. Therefore, this is the reason "The Eumenides" began at Apollo's temple.
Aeschylus was an Athenian man who wrote thirteen first place plays. He wrote this tragedy around 458 B.C. This play had some new innovations for its time period, such as a second actor, elaborate staging, and poetic diction. Aeschylus was in the navy at Salamis and
took part in the Persian Invasion in 480 B.C. He died in 456 B.C., when an eagle dropped a tortoise on his head, crushing his skull.
"The Eumenides" was a great play, as were the other two of the trilogy. The poetic words seemed to flow from the actors' mouths, maybe a little too much when the Furies spoke prior to the trial. The Furies were annoying throughout the play and had too many rambling speaking parts. However, the play contained a practical plot line that is still fit for today's society, even though it was written some 2,461 years ago. I enjoyed seeing how the people from long ago dealt with similar issues, which still haunt our society today.
The plot appeared to flow steadily throughout the play. All of the various scenes streamed together and gave an insight into what life was like for Orestes. However, there wasn't much action throughout the play, but the lack of action was made up with suspense provided during the trial. Overall, Aeschylus did an excellent job writing the play.
Throughout "The Eumenides" Aeschylus chose his words perfectly. The poetic words surged smoothly through the actors' mouths. Perhaps one of the most interesting parts was listening to how Aeschylus managed to make rhymes that lasted for a good five minutes, while still making sense. He also used excellent metaphors and similes to emphasize certain points being made during the trial. Although the words may have been offensive to some, they helped highlight the common thought most people had in that time period. The language was difficult to understand at first, but as the play went on, the language became easier to understand.
Perhaps one of the best qualities about this play is how it relates to today's society. We are still forced to judge whether a person is innocent or guilty of murder. We still ask God for help and believe that God knows best for us. We also have a similar court system, such as the one the Athenians used. "The Eumenides" shows how we should always obey our God, just as the Athenians did because God will always be on our side, just like Apollo was towards Orestes. In addition, it was interesting to see how the gods interacted with the humans in the Greek times. The play made it clear that gods played a huge role in the decision making at the trial and all other life decisions of the citizens.
Most of "The Eumenides" was entertaining; however, there were a few dreadful parts. Before the trial, the Furies spoke way too much. The Furies points could have been made in a one or two minute speech, instead of an eight to ten minute speech. Moreover, the way the Furies talked was annoying. I couldn't stand to listen to one of them start a line, and another one finish it. It was hard to tell who was talking because they wore masks. Furthermore, the Furies continual swaying movement drove me crazy.
The actors and costumes were a perfect match for the play. The actors appeared very natural at their roles. They weren't too dramatic, but they weren't stoic either. The costumes were great as well. They had just enough clues to be able to tell who was who.
Overall, the "perfectly cast" actors speak their words poetically throughout the play. In addition, it is refreshing to watch a play in which the old-fashioned props and costumes are used. Plus, I like the idea of religion playing a prominent part in the characters' lives, since most modern plays try to avoid religion. "The Eumenides" isn't just the greatest play of The Oresteia Trilogy, but one of the greatest plays of all time.