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The Oresteia Trilogy: Agamemnon, the Libation-Bearers and the Furies (Dover Thrift Editions) [Kindle Edition]

Aeschylus , E.D.A. Morshead

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Book Description

Classic trilogy by great tragedian deals with the bloody history of the House of Atreus. Grand in style, rich in diction and dramatic dialogue, the plays embody Aeschylus' concerns with the destiny and fate of both individuals and the state, all played out under the watchful eye of the gods.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 717 KB
  • Print Length: 162 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0486292428
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (2 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A62Y2R4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #782,512 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too Antique for Ancient Aeschylus 1 Aug. 2009
By Reviewer - Published on
This 'late Victorian-style' translation, by A. Morshead, was first published as vol. 8 of The Harvard Classics in 1909. To my eyes, it's unreadable, full of pompous syntax and jangling rhymes, replete with archaic language that alludes more to Medieval epic than to classic Greek. It has been re-issued as a Dover Thrift Edition at giveaway price; to be blunt, it should be retired forevermore. Any poor reader who encounters Aeschylus in this form first will never be tempted to look at another Greek drama.
See my review of Robert Lowell's 'adaptation' of the Oresteia for some thoughts about the original. That translation is also inadequate, but at least readable. I'm still searching for a better choice.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Verdict, "Two Thumbs Up" 16 Sept. 2003
A Kid's Review - Published on
"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

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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.
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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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Same Then and Now 9 Sept. 2003
By Emily Cole - Published on
The Oresteia Trilogy by Aeschylus is a detailed portrayal of a family's curse and the effect it takes on them. Aeschylus wrote this trilogy between 500 B.C and 456 B.C. when the great Greek plays were being written and performed by all Athenians. Aeschylus wrote many trilogies, winning approximately thirteen first place prizes at the festivals in March. He led a life of adventure participating in several wars, the most famous being the war at Marathon.

Even though Aeschylus wrote this trilogy hundreds of years ago, it can still be related to life today in the 21st Century. As one reads the plays one can envision their own town or life in his work. For this reason it is regarded as a "Great Greek Tragedy" and no one here seems to be arguing.
As The Oresteia Trilogy begins to unravel the reader begins to experience the lives and times of the characters. They are given an exclusive view into the minds and souls of each character as they contemplate each decision.

Clytemnestra and the characters surrounding her were experiencing many of the trials and life situations citizens experience today. As the Trojan War raged on in the trilogy and the citizens dealt with the absence of husbands and fathers, our country also deals with the same situation and Iraq. Wives were constantly facing the thought of their husbands' deaths or infidelity. Even though Clytemnestra had different reactions to these than most women, she still felt and experienced them.
Cyltemnestra's feelings weren't unjust; her instincts of Agamemnon's infidelity were truthful. As Agamemnon was unfaithful to his wife Clytemnestra, our culture also deals with many couples that cannot seem to be pleased with just one mate.
When many of these affairs are revealed violence can erupt. Violence is also a major issue in this trilogy as it is in society now. The citizens of Mycenae dealt with murders, matricides, attacks, wars and many other violent behaviors.
Citizens today cannot deny the existence of too much violence in the world. We are constantly reminded, by the media, of similar murders of family members, like those in the trilogy. The reader is also constantly reminded of the violence by the never-ending curse in the story.
With violence comes death, and with death comes mourning. As Electra and her brother Orestes bring Libations to their father's grave, families around the world also bring flowers and offerings to their own loved one's graves in hope to let the spirits rest.
But with murder and crime justice will soon follow. No reader can deny the vast similarities between our current judicial system and the system of ancient Rome. The similarities begin with a jury, plaintiff, defense, and a judge, and the list continues.
The furies also represent things in modern times. As they were tyrants and inescapable reminders, they are like guilty consciences and constant reminders that follow criminals and victims today.

Even though The Oresteia Trilogy was written almost twenty-five hundred years ago, Aeschylus seems to be able to still connect with his readers. You can envision yourself in the situations of the characters and are able to input your own thoughts to the story. With each new event, a new similarity between the ancient world and the 21st century world is pointed out. Many lessons can be learned from reading this classic. Be ready to read your own life in The Oresteia Trilogy by Aeschylus.
4.0 out of 5 stars Ordinary People, Extraordinary Times, gods and Murder 15 Sept. 2003
By andrea - Published on
The Oresteia Trilogy, written by Aeschylus, consisted of three well written plays; Agamemnon, The Libation-Bearers, and The Furies. Even though Aeschylus lived in Athens from 525 until 456 B.C., he wrote the play to take place around 1250 B.C. Even though I struggled with the language, the characters had such strong feelings they made the play easier to understand. Aeschylus always gave his characters great emotional range, their feelings moved from one extreme to the other. For example, when Clytemnestra found out that Agamemnon had killed their daughter Iphigenia, she knew the only way to avenge him would be to kill him.
Orestes plan to avenge his mother was complicated. The god Apollo, as well as Electra, thought Clytemnestra deserved to die because she killed her husband. Apollo thought it might help
end the curse on the house of Atreus. Regardless, the Chorus thought Orestes' murder was much worse than the murder Clytemnestra committed. Orestes committed matricide, the murdering of one's mother. I liked this passage. I could relate what Orestes was going through, but on a different level. I know what it's like to be indifferent and have everybody expect you to do something, regardless of how you actually feel. Peer pressure is hard enough to deal with and worse if your beliefs aren't set in stone. Being confused and pressured made Orestes' character seem real to me.
I would definitely recommend The Oresteia Trilogy to anyone as a spectacular play to read. The way the characters' emotions were portrayed and toyed with made the play come to life. I thought Aeschylus did a great job of bringing all of his characters, especially Orestes, to life. The plot was really well developed and made the play much more captivating to read. Overall, this is one of the best plays I have read in an extremely long time. Aeschylus definitely deserved all of his awards for being a playwright.
4.0 out of 5 stars Days of our Greek Lives 11 Sept. 2003
By Jenna B. (MHS) - Published on
Aeschylus, the father of tragic poetry, lived a life of glory and hardships. Born in 525 BC, he lived sixty-nine years and took pride in calling Athens his home. Early in life he fought in battles and was a member of the navy at Salamis. Later, he grew to love writing plays and poetry. He won first place thirteen times at the Dionysus festival for his own works. One of his greatest masterpieces, The Oresteia Trilogy, was among those awarded. This play took place in 1250 BC and sets the foundation for future works of Greek mythology. It incorporates ideas and themes that prove it one of the greatest works of its time. The Trojan War forces a beloved husband into battle, leaving a wife to begin the plot of his death. Trust, revenge, courage, faith, and loyalty to ones family and the gods are important issues faced by the people. Every person has a duty and every action has a consequence.
Aeschylus cleverly develops an interesting plot based on justice and revenge, unimportance of women, and the influence of the gods. These ideas are intertwined within the story, keeping readers well entertained and eager to read on. Readers are left to wonder whether the character's actions were justified. The characters' actions are constantly being questioned, and their lives prove to be an exciting and adventurous experience for people to read about.
The Greek tragedy is based on a complicated line of revenge and quests for justice. A mother getting revenge for a daughter's death and a son justifying his father's murder are two examples of vengeance that provide a necessary aspect of the play. In the beginning, Clytemnestra feels the need to avenge her husband's action when forced to choose between his fatherly duty and the gods. Readers become aware of the thoughts and feelings of her and are drawn into her argument against Agamemnon. In the end, Agamemnon puts the gods as a higher importance to him than his daughter. Most people believe that his actions were necessary because it was the will of the gods. Clytemnestra, however, is furious at her husband and begins the plot of his murder. Clytemnestra is full of triumph after Agamemnon's death; however, the city people are in shock and upset at the thought of her gaining power. The news of his father's death eventually reaches Orestes who is devastated and hurt by what his own mother did to his father. Orestes is commanded by Apollo to get revenge on the actions of his mother. With the support of Apollo, Orestes murders his mother and puts her actions to justice. Readers are forced to decide for themselves whether the character's actions were justified. Some people believe Orestes' actions were justified because he had Apollo's support. Others believe Clytemnesra isn't to blame because she was already punished by her death. The play is intellectually challenging because readers are constantly developing an opinion of the characters.
In history, women were known to have very little rights. Aeschylus makes it very apparent in this play that women are inferior to men. During the trial of Orestes, Apollo says that women aren't even considered a blood relative of their child. Apollo argues, "Not the true parent is the woman's womb that bears the child; she doth but nurse the seed." He is referring to the father as the true parent who gives the seed to enable the child's existence. This leads to his claim that by killing Clytemnestra he committed no matricide. Athene, the goddess presiding over the court agrees with Apollo because she has no mother and supports the beliefs about the father. Present day readers are aware of the fact that children need both the mother and the father. It is interesting to compare the beliefs of today to the beliefs of the ancient times. Women today can look back and appreciate all the wonderful things they have accomplished over the years. Now, women are given almost every right that is granted to a man. Women continue to overcome their many years of insignificance, with achieving goals and celebrating accomplishments.
Aeschylus presents the gods as very important and a dominating aspect of the play. The sacrifice of a daughter and the murder of a mother are all in accordance of the will of the gods. The gods represent a sort of important governing factor in the lives of these ancient Greek people. They live to please them in their everyday lives. The gods play an important role in the trial of Orestes. Apollo acts as his lawyer who defends him from the furies. In a way, Apollo got Orestes in this situation and is the one who helps him gain his freedom back. Athene, the goddess presiding over the court is also very influential in the court's decision. She casts the deciding vote in Orestes' fight for freedom. The gods often forced the characters to choose between their family and the gods themselves. The greatest example is when Agamemnon had to choose between his daughter and the gods. Readers are often reminded of a time when they were forced to choose between their family and something else of great importance to them.
The Orestia Trilogy by Aeschylus proves itself as one of the greatest masterpieces of ancient Greek mythology. The dominant themes of justice, woman inequality, and power of the gods add a vital part to the story as a whole. Readers are drawn into the world of ancient times and experience the happiness and the hardships along with the characters. The Orestia Trilogy has been in existence for over 2400 years and continues to influence the lives of its readers.
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