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Aeschylus, Xoiforoi

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O Orestis mazi me ton Piladi vriskontai ston tapho tou Agamemnona, opou kataphthanoun yinaikes me epikephalis tin Ilektra stalmenes ap' tin Klitaimnistra me exilastikes prosphores, istera apo ena kako oniro. I dio nei apomakrinontai me tin aphixi ton yinaikon. I Ilektra prospheri tis khoes, eno parakali na epistrepsi o Orestis kai na ekdikithi. Anakalipti ston tapho mia O Orestis mazi me ton Piladi vriskontai ston tapho tou Agamemnona, opou kataphthanoun yinaikes me epikephalis tin Ilektra stalmenes ap' tin Klitaimnistra me exilastikes prosphores, istera apo ena kako oniro. I dio nei apomakrinontai me tin aphixi ton yinaikon. I Ilektra prospheri tis khoes, eno parakali na epistrepsi o Orestis kai na ekdikithi. Anakalipti ston tapho mia toupha mallion kai ta khnaria tou kai proaisthanetai tin aphixi tou. O Orestis emphanizetai. To aderphia anagnorizontai kai o Orestis tis apokalipti to skhedio tou. I Klitaimnistra, stin opia emphanizetai san angeliaphoros tou dikou tou thanatou, den ton anagnorizi. Philoxeni ton Oresti kai ton Piladi, eno stelni tin tropho (paramana tou Oresti) yia na idopiisi ton Aiyistho. I trophos khini yia ton Oresti ta dakria pou i mitera tou yi' afton den ekhi. O Aiyisthos erkhe-tai kai skotonetai ap' to spathi tou Oresti. Idopiitai kai i Klitaimnistra pou, meta apo sintomi stikhomithia me to yio tis, skotonetai. O Orestis prospathi na dikaioloyisi tin praxi tou. Kali ton ilio yia martira. I dikaioloyies den ton prophilassoun. Ta pnevmata pou theloun na ton ekdikithoun( Erinies) vyainoun apo ti yi. Emphanizontai enopion tou. Entromos orma exo ap' ti skini me katefthinsi tous Delphous ( ap' opou pire kai tin entoli tis mitroktonias) yia na vri ti litrosi.


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O Orestis mazi me ton Piladi vriskontai ston tapho tou Agamemnona, opou kataphthanoun yinaikes me epikephalis tin Ilektra stalmenes ap' tin Klitaimnistra me exilastikes prosphores, istera apo ena kako oniro. I dio nei apomakrinontai me tin aphixi ton yinaikon. I Ilektra prospheri tis khoes, eno parakali na epistrepsi o Orestis kai na ekdikithi. Anakalipti ston tapho mia O Orestis mazi me ton Piladi vriskontai ston tapho tou Agamemnona, opou kataphthanoun yinaikes me epikephalis tin Ilektra stalmenes ap' tin Klitaimnistra me exilastikes prosphores, istera apo ena kako oniro. I dio nei apomakrinontai me tin aphixi ton yinaikon. I Ilektra prospheri tis khoes, eno parakali na epistrepsi o Orestis kai na ekdikithi. Anakalipti ston tapho mia toupha mallion kai ta khnaria tou kai proaisthanetai tin aphixi tou. O Orestis emphanizetai. To aderphia anagnorizontai kai o Orestis tis apokalipti to skhedio tou. I Klitaimnistra, stin opia emphanizetai san angeliaphoros tou dikou tou thanatou, den ton anagnorizi. Philoxeni ton Oresti kai ton Piladi, eno stelni tin tropho (paramana tou Oresti) yia na idopiisi ton Aiyistho. I trophos khini yia ton Oresti ta dakria pou i mitera tou yi' afton den ekhi. O Aiyisthos erkhe-tai kai skotonetai ap' to spathi tou Oresti. Idopiitai kai i Klitaimnistra pou, meta apo sintomi stikhomithia me to yio tis, skotonetai. O Orestis prospathi na dikaioloyisi tin praxi tou. Kali ton ilio yia martira. I dikaioloyies den ton prophilassoun. Ta pnevmata pou theloun na ton ekdikithoun( Erinies) vyainoun apo ti yi. Emphanizontai enopion tou. Entromos orma exo ap' ti skini me katefthinsi tous Delphous ( ap' opou pire kai tin entoli tis mitroktonias) yia na vri ti litrosi.

30 review for Aeschylus, Xoiforoi

  1. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    The Course of The Curse In The Choephori, the bloodshed begun in the first play is continued (see Agamemnon for details, and for a discussion on translations). The theme of revenge and blood-curse continues to haunt the House of Atreus. At first glance it might seem as if there is indeed no end to this recurring tragedy that has been playing itself out in these intrigue-filled halls, but despite all the mirroring Aeschylus effects between the first and second plays (both have legitimate avenging The Course of The Curse In The Choephori, the bloodshed begun in the first play is continued (see Agamemnon for details, and for a discussion on translations). The theme of revenge and blood-curse continues to haunt the House of Atreus. At first glance it might seem as if there is indeed no end to this recurring tragedy that has been playing itself out in these intrigue-filled halls, but despite all the mirroring Aeschylus effects between the first and second plays (both have legitimate avenging missions, both weave a web of deceit, both murders the unsuspecting, both murderers are accompanied by unidimensional accomplices, both murders leave everlasting stains, both think that the buck will stop with them) that is supposed to show the inevitability of this tragic course/curse with no scope for a resolution, there are significant differences: 1. Clytaemestra acted alone, under her own sense of right and wrong; Orestes acts under the express direction and protection of Apollo himself. 2. Clytaemestra makes a token gesture of atonement by promising to give up her wealth but instead establishes a tyranny; Orestes is racked by guilt and renounces his position and wealth to atone for his crime. (I wonder who ruled the kingdom in his absence...) 3. Clytaemestra defends her actions and takes no steps to alleviate them by rituals, etc. until a nasty dream shakes her up; Orestes accepts his guilt immediately and takes protection under Apollo and does all the ritual cleansing and prostrations required. 4. Clytaemestra is probably egged on by Aegisthus's greed and allows him to benefit by her actions. Orestes turns to Pylades just once who only repeats Apollo's words and has no personal stake in the business. (though could it be that he becomes the regent in Orestes absence?) 5. Clytaemestra never hesitates in her deed of revenge and as an add-on murders an innocent (?) Cassandra too; Orestes shows his reluctance till he very last moment and had to be driven to his deed. He murders only the expressly guilty. (One has to wonder if Apollo was in fact avenging Cassandra and not Agamemnon!) 6. Most importantly Clytaemestra thinks she can be the final arbiter while Orestes is willing to allow himself to be judged by greater powers, be it the Gods, or the Law. All this allows for hope that the ending of this second installment, of Orestes' story, and the punishment for his crime need not be externally imposed but might in fact be sanctioned by this modern man himself. How exactly this will play out Aeschylus leaves for his climactic play, but the Greeks of his time would have been in no doubt as to where it was all leading and would have been eagerly awaiting the mythical re-imagination/show-down it would entail. Society is progressing, and like in Hegel it was all going to culminate in the Perfection of the Present!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    "a wise messenger makes a crooked message straight"

  3. 5 out of 5

    وائل المنعم

    I read the Robert Fagles' translation. It's better than Agamemnon, No more long dialogues, The chorus role is limited, But no big deal happened. the whole first half is about Orestes meet his sister Electra and tell her about his revenge plan, the second half is revenge in action. I still think that Sophocles is better than Aeschylus, I don't think it'll be a fair point of view about Greek plays taken depending on Aeschylus' plays only.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ramona Boldizsar

    THE POST IS SPOILED The second part of Aeschylus' Orestia, "The libation bearers" tells the story of Orestes returning home, to revenge the death of a beloved father... But it is not only this what the play is about, of course. I found myself thinking, at some point (while going through my read) that I will rate this play 5 out of 5 stars, having liked it more than I have liked Agamemnon. But after finishing reading the play, I reconsidered the fact. Not because i did not like the play anymore, THE POST IS SPOILED The second part of Aeschylus' Orestia, "The libation bearers" tells the story of Orestes returning home, to revenge the death of a beloved father... But it is not only this what the play is about, of course. I found myself thinking, at some point (while going through my read) that I will rate this play 5 out of 5 stars, having liked it more than I have liked Agamemnon. But after finishing reading the play, I reconsidered the fact. Not because i did not like the play anymore, but because there was a small thing that influenced my rating -that is, Orestes' attitude, also compared to Sophocles' Orestes from "Electra". But I shall get there immediately. Before that, I should like to express some other feelings and opinions. I found the play interestingly well written -in a certain manner that made the play seem better written (in my mind), than the others. But it should have been the translation and also the imaginary/mental tone I used for reading this piece. Now, that I use my retrospective memory, I realize that this is actually the reason why I believed it to be so. I felt a little arrogant and infatuated, therefore I mentally read with all my might and the play seemed so much more dramatic in my head than the others. And thus i have discovered that this should be the right way in which one ought to read these kind of works (or at least this is the way I actually should do it to better understand the circumstances ). Even so, I think the chorus to be quite fascinating, the cries infinitely dramatic, and -somehow- full of an unspoken evilness that is, of course, hidden in the utmost desire of vengeance. "The libation bearers", a story of cries, of death, the mark of the utmost desire of vengeance, as I have already pointed out already... This scene is beautifully pictured: the chorus and Electra, at Agamemnon's grave, her beloved and loved father. Her cries seem endless and too innocent, for she does not know what to ask for, she is not able to fully understand how she should cry out the name of her father. She is aware, nevertheless, that her mother did not love her father so why should she call the name of her father like that, how could she possibly speak up the name of her mother -loving her husband -in her prayer to her father? An ugly lie, that should be. Confused as she is, she asks for advice from the servants -many foreign women, probably wined in the trojan war. This scene is entirely beautiful because it stresses the main point of the first tragedy: treason of the wife, treson of Aegisthus and, more importantly, the death of Agamemnon, and his right of being buried as king taken away from him (from his own wife that he has left behind to wait for him, entrusting her with his home and land, for whom she should have cared more than anything else). Electra, suffering from the curse of these tragic events, calls out for the name of a righteous killer, to come here and vengeance what should be taken revenge on. And then, Orestes appears to become his destiny... However, we should realize at this point that both Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, his wife, have been in the wrong. Not only the last one. Both have chosen wicked ways regarding the good of their children, they have not sincerely shared any feelings of love between them and, therefore, they both are traitors of some kind (to each other). But the Gods should now see the bigger done, and that is the wife's murder, Agamemnon becoming only a victim. Because nobody should be speaking bad of a man who died by the hand of his woman, in the given circumstances. Therefore not only is this the divine wish, but also the only way in which things are being seen by the others : by Electra, by Orestes and his friend, by the chorus, by the people. The one who did wrong is Clytemnestra, and her beloved Aegisthus, a mere traitor who deserves nothing but to die his righteous death/getting killed by the hand of an indebted and bereaved son. Therefore, the tragedy of Orestes does not come with the killing of Aegisthus -because this was the utmost right thing to do in the given circumstances, but when he desires and succeeds in murdering his own mother. The mother has been in the wrong : the mother put her name under treason, she betrayed her husband, her children and her home, her own kingdom. She had put the reasons of her crime on the shoulders of her killed daughter, the one that Agamemnon sacrificed in the trojan war. She gave herself to treason and to lies, not being honest not even in the moment of her betrayal, of her crime. She had been affected by pride and she betrayed and killed everything she should have loved. Instead of protecting the home, as she should have done, she has been carelessly seduced by Aegisthus to whom she entirely entrusted her heart and kingdom. Therefore, she was in the wrong and Orestes had more than sufficient motives to murder her. Even so, things are not so simple - while the murder of Aegisthus shall be forgotten and even applauded, the murder of one's own mother is not so easily forgotten, and nonetheless, never applauded... Orestes has doubts -but he has to listen to Apollo's prophecy... And he does listen, he gets revenge for his father : he kills the two lovers, the traitors of the realm, the traitors of Agamemnon, the ones who betrayed Orestes' family and clan, he kills the evil Aegisthus and his concubine, the queen, the mother, Clytemnestra... What is left for Orestes to do now? He can hardly stay, he can hardly listen because all he sees and hears is his fault -his fault of being the murderer of his own mother, the one that gave him birth, however bad the circumstances came to be in the end. So he has to go -he has to run from the Furies, the ones that give revenge, the ones that came after him after his mother's curses... Or this is what Orestes feels and believes. They play is itself is a real big success and I admit I was quite lost in it, having liked it enormously. Even so, there is a reason why i gave it 4 out of 5 stars, and I shall now explain it. I have not liked the first attitude Orestes had towards the acts he was supposed to carry out. He was afraid, somehow like a coward he was ready to give up and run from his duties -he needed an impulse, he needed to be told that he was just supposed to revenge his father and nothing more. I think this thing should have been more than clear in his mind, nothing to be doubted. This, I may suppose, seems a rather silly reason for which I should retreat one star from my rating. But i cannot but do as I already did -this fact deeply affected me. You see, I am quite conscious of the fact that these works of art are in themselves works of 5 stars, i am quite aware of the fact, but as I have already and repeatedly stressed in my reviews, i cannot but be subjective in my comments. Therefore, I respect my subjectiveness, my desires and my feelings at a respective moment when I rate the books I read. So this is how it is. What is more, the difference between Sophocles' "Electra" and this work of Aeschylus is quite big and intriguing: in the first we find the force that is missing in the second, and that is of course the force I needed in the play, I needed to read and feel that force in Orestes, the force he lacked in Aeschylus' piece, I am afraid. In Sophocles he is so much decided, not a coward at all, he is powerful and adamant, he has no doubts! He acts coldly, as it should be and he feels he cannot but revenge the death of his beloved father (with or without the prophecy). Here, the prophecy's role is one of the main things, the main reason why Orestes could take up his duty... And I did not appreciate that, i did not appreciate it at all. The sparkling Orestes, the powerful son who comes in his right to make Justice and takes upon his shoulders the pain of killing a mother, is gone -that Orestes becomes one conducted by Gods, by prophecy, merely a coward who, without the impulses of his sister and the chorus, would have given up his duty. I feel that this Orestes isn't as strong as Sophocles' Orestes. So here I am, that is why i cannot rate this book 5 out of 5, even though I enjoyed it to the most. I also recommend reading Sophocles' Electra, much more beautiful and powerful than this one. This one is indeed beautiful and the verses are wonderful -I enjoyed them greatly, Aeschylus did a hell of a job with it, i cannot but agree to that (especially the scene that takes place at Agamemnon's grave and even the discussion between Orestes and his mother)... But something is missing from Orestes' attitude. At least, this is how I feel. :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maan Kawas

    A beautiful tragedy written by a master playwright! I loved the language and characterization of the play. It is a play about vengeance, which is considered just by the gods. According to them, bloodstain cannot be washed up but with more bloodshed. Thus, Orestes was asked by Apollo to avenge his father, and thus fulfilling the divine plan. However, this plan will bring him the fury and harmful consequences in the future, but he accepts what the god Apollo asked him to do. And Aeschylus gave A beautiful tragedy written by a master playwright! I loved the language and characterization of the play. It is a play about vengeance, which is considered just by the gods. According to them, bloodstain cannot be washed up but with more bloodshed. Thus, Orestes was asked by Apollo to avenge his father, and thus fulfilling the divine plan. However, this plan will bring him the fury and harmful consequences in the future, but he accepts what the god Apollo asked him to do. And Aeschylus gave hints that this will be the last blood, and Orestes will not be punished for it, as Apollo guaranteed. What I find a bit surprising in the play is that there is no value for family ties, the relationships among the family members were free from affections, respect, and love; no love is there between the married couples, nor love between children and their mother, even the relationship between Electra and her brother is cold. Moreover, the news about the death of Orestes did not move his mother neither the killing of his mother - and her supplications to spare her life - moved Orestes’ heart, who favored commitment to gods’ dictation, as well as his duties toward his father rather than his mother. At the same time, I find the play, as an ancient tragedy, a great one that sheds light on the human condition, namely, his relationship to Gods and the role of fate in humans life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 3 - Drama on 3: A new version by Ed Hime The second play in Aeschylus's classic trilogy about murder, revenge and justice. Agamemnon's son Orestes returns home from exile to kill his mother in revenge for his father's murder. But where can he find the strength to carry out such a terrible deed? BBC Concert Orchestra Percussionists Alasdair Malloy, Stephen Webberley and Stephen Whibley Sound design by Cal Knightley & Colin Guthrie.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    In the second part of the Oresteia, the sins of the father (and mother) are visited upon the children, an age-old story that can symbolize both the inner struggle of individuals to reconcile their dark natures and/or genetic predispositions with their personal sense of virtue, and also the larger societal struggle to temper the barbaric and primal drives of the past in order to move toward a more just or moral state. In each case, we can only break the cycle of our uncivilized past by directly In the second part of the Oresteia, the sins of the father (and mother) are visited upon the children, an age-old story that can symbolize both the inner struggle of individuals to reconcile their dark natures and/or genetic predispositions with their personal sense of virtue, and also the larger societal struggle to temper the barbaric and primal drives of the past in order to move toward a more just or moral state. In each case, we can only break the cycle of our uncivilized past by directly engaging with it. Ironically, the only way to save ourselves from societal destruction is to risk self-destruction, emerging from the muck with a renewed sense of justice. Aeschylus spends a great deal of the play explaining why Orestes is the only person who can wield the sword of justice for the gods: he is the son of Agamemnon (thus a human descendant of the will of Apollo); he was not directly implicated in either the sins of his father or his mother, but carries the weight of both their actions; he has the support of his family (Electra), his community (the Chorus), and the gods; and he must act to save not only his family line, but also Argos from tyrants who opposed the will of the gods and the people. He must kill in order to stop the cycle of killing, but his actions are presented not as murder, but as justice from the gods. The play ends as he is hounded by the Furies. We are left wondering if he will survive the psychological toll of his actions, setting up the final play of the trilogy, in which he is judged by the gods, the citizens, and himself. It is this judgment that moves us from the vengeance of the past into a civilized state of justice, in which we are all held accountable for our actions, whether by judgment of the gods, by our civil society, or by our own consciences.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jack Siebert

    Personal Response: I very much enjoyed the imagery with the snake breastfeeding. That was very colorful. I would have preferred if Clytemnestra had an elaborate death monologue after being struck down by her son, but the argument they share is still nice. Plot Summary: Orestes, the castaway son of the queen Clytemnestra and the late king Agamemnon, meets his enslaved sister, Electra, at their father’s tomb. They are informed of how Clytemnestra and her new man, Aegisthus, Killed Agamemnon and of Personal Response: I very much enjoyed the imagery with the snake breastfeeding. That was very colorful. I would have preferred if Clytemnestra had an elaborate death monologue after being struck down by her son, but the argument they share is still nice. Plot Summary: Orestes, the castaway son of the queen Clytemnestra and the late king Agamemnon, meets his enslaved sister, Electra, at their father’s tomb. They are informed of how Clytemnestra and her new man, Aegisthus, Killed Agamemnon and of Clytemnestra's vision of her breastfeeding a snake that poisons her. Orestes realizes he must be that metaphorical snake and that he must avenge his father by killing the new king and queen. He tells the guardsmen he bears new of Her son Orestes’ death. Aegisthus comes out unguarded and Orestes kills him. Clytemnestra hears his shout and rushes down with an ax to see what happened. She recognizes him and they argue about who is morally right, Orestes than overpowers her and kills her. Characterization: Orestes is much somber and gloomier at the beginning, but once he hears of her vision he becomes more cunning and sinister. Clytemnestra is much more bitter than in Agamemnon. Aegisthus’ character is quite consistent, however. Recommendation: I would recommend this to anyone who has read Agamemnon. The information within is quite essential for this tragedy. This would also be great with a small group of people.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Miles Smith

    The 2nd play* in Aeschylus' Oresteia. I'm not a Classicist, but this is more of a clear morality tale than the Agamemnon. Evil receives a just result, but the playwright also seems to question if human justice can ever properly be instituted, or whether retribution just perpetuates violence. * The title The Libation Bearers is also sometimes modernized as Women at the Graveside.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jack Fingal

    The mourning for Agamemnon goes on a bit too long and slows the pace of the drama. But the last few pages are just spectacular. Orestes' conflicted feelings on what to do with Clytemenstra are very compelling, and the hallucinations he has at the end due to his guilt are very bone-chilling. A great drama about the passion for revenge and the never-ending cycles it causes.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bruno

    The only tragedy with three surviving works from three different writers (this and Electra from Sophocles and Euripides) is my number 4 of the Aeschylus's survived tragedies.It's the second part of the trilogy,revolving around the Atreus family,as the children of the Mycenaean king Agamemnon (Orestes and Electra) seek to avenge the death of their father,at the hands of their mother,Clytemnestra and her lover (and their uncle). Of the three versions of this tragedy,I would put The Libation The only tragedy with three surviving works from three different writers (this and Electra from Sophocles and Euripides) is my number 4 of the Aeschylus's survived tragedies.It's the second part of the trilogy,revolving around the Atreus family,as the children of the Mycenaean king Agamemnon (Orestes and Electra) seek to avenge the death of their father,at the hands of their mother,Clytemnestra and her lover (and their uncle). Of the three versions of this tragedy,I would put The Libation Bearers at the 2nd place (I'm going to make reviews for the other two later),since this part has a conclusion in it's sequel,made by the same writer,but lacks the justifications from both sides for actions.Here the main protagonist acts according to the will of the gods,without hesitation,which is understandable for the most known Aeschylus's characters.The reason I've put it on the number 4 spot is the lack of content,as well as the build up (characters meet,talk,act and decide what to do next),because of it's short length,but higher than the previous tragedies,thanks to it's main focus on the new introduced characters and because it's the part of the trilogy,which themes focus on revenge,justice and honor to the family and memories.Tomorrow I'll be reviewing the number 3 spot,so I wish you all a pleasant day and good rest during the weekend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    The vengeance of Orestes 9 January 2012 This is the second play in the Oresteian trilogy and is basically the same plot as the over versions of the Electra that were also composed by Sophocles and Euripides. However it is very noticeable that it is the second part because this play goes straight into the action with a discussion between Orestes and Pylaides as they stand before Agamemnon's grave. Many of the other plays seem to be self contained, but we understand that Aeschylus wrote mostly The vengeance of Orestes 9 January 2012 This is the second play in the Oresteian trilogy and is basically the same plot as the over versions of the Electra that were also composed by Sophocles and Euripides. However it is very noticeable that it is the second part because this play goes straight into the action with a discussion between Orestes and Pylaides as they stand before Agamemnon's grave. Many of the other plays seem to be self contained, but we understand that Aeschylus wrote mostly trilogies (and it is quite clear that the other playwrights would write their plays as single units). In a way, an Aeschylan tragedy is more like a play in three acts as opposed to three separate plays. They work the way most trilogies work (or are supposed to work) in that they function as a whole as opposed to three separate parts. In ancient times going to the theatre was a whole day affair, with four plays being performed one after the other (with breaks in between). Normally there would be three tragedies and what is termed as a satyr play: not strictly a comedy but more of a light hearted break from the intensities of the tragedies. However it appears that the trilogy as a form of play was really a more earlier example than the later ones that we have. However, with the single unity plays it is difficult (for me at least) to see how the other plays would function, whether they would be connected or distinct, though I am leaning towards distinct units. The Libation Bearers (which is the English title of this play) also differs in that there is no strict unity of place, though it appears that the action occurs in a single day (being the unity of time). The location changes four times in this play, beginning at the grave, them moving to the city, and then moving into the palace where the murders take place. The play begins with Orestes' arrival and with Electra quickly identifying him (this takes longer in the other versions) and the Orestes and Pylaides sneaking into the palace to avenge his father's death. The play then finishes with a horde of furies descending upon Orestes and setting the scene for the final play in the trilogy. It appears that the story is quite a popular one, though it probably has a lot to do with the moral dilemma that the play centres around. It was the duty of the son, in Greek culture, to avenge a father's murder and vengeance was always an eye for an eye, meaning that the killer must die. However this was not a simply trial by jury, but bloody vengeance, and in a way it was acceptable. What was not acceptable was matricide (the murder of a mother) and thus comes the moral dilemma. Agamemnon was murdered, and it is Orestes' duty to avenge his death. However Agamemnon was murdered by his wife, and it was repulsive for a child to slay his mother but he had to avenge his father's death. As such, when the deed was done, the furies descend upon him to drive him out of Argos and he also had to seek cleansing and purification. Thus the stage is set for the final chapter in this drama, however I will not go any further into this as I shall leave the final instalment for the Eumenides.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    3.5 stars This is a hard play to review, simply because it is so complex. I think that by committing the anachronism of considering Clytemnestra a good, strong character, I can't understand her vilification by Orestes in this play. This was the play where, to me, we really saw the curse of the house of Atreus come into play. Orestes perpetuates the cycle of murder, on Apollo's orders, that was started by his grandfather by committing matricide. It's hard to judge how I feel about this play when 3.5 stars This is a hard play to review, simply because it is so complex. I think that by committing the anachronism of considering Clytemnestra a good, strong character, I can't understand her vilification by Orestes in this play. This was the play where, to me, we really saw the curse of the house of Atreus come into play. Orestes perpetuates the cycle of murder, on Apollo's orders, that was started by his grandfather by committing matricide. It's hard to judge how I feel about this play when it follows such a wonderful play as Agamemnon and when we have weaker characters such as Electra.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    The second play of the Oresteian Trilogy is the first one to feature the titular character Orestes, and indeed he is the most important character from now on. Curiously the play takes its name from the Chorus who here serve as libation bearers, i.e. those who provide tributes to the gods. The libation bearers are curious for a couple of reasons. The first play did not take its name from the role of the Chorus (the town Elders on that occasion). Yet the Chorus might be said to have the dominant The second play of the Oresteian Trilogy is the first one to feature the titular character Orestes, and indeed he is the most important character from now on. Curiously the play takes its name from the Chorus who here serve as libation bearers, i.e. those who provide tributes to the gods. The libation bearers are curious for a couple of reasons. The first play did not take its name from the role of the Chorus (the town Elders on that occasion). Yet the Chorus might be said to have the dominant role in that play, at least in terms of the number of lines that they receive. Agamemnon has fewer lines than Clytemnestra or even Cassandra, although the play takes his name. This makes sense though since the action concerns his homecoming and murder. However The Libation Bearers is mostly concerned with Orestes, and he has a far more prominent role in the play. The Chorus still receives a larger share of lines than anyone else, and they even get to play a small part in the action, in contrast to the ineffectual Elders of the first play. However there seems little reason to name the play after them. The role of the Chorus as libation bearers is curious for a second reason. They have been appointed to offer libations to the gods as expiation for Clytemnestra’s sin in murdering Agamemnon seven years earlier (as outlined in the first play). However the Chorus makes no serious attempt to fulfil their duties. Bitter and full of vengeful thoughts, the libations of the Chorus are little more than condemnations of the acts of Clytemnestra and her accomplice (now her new husband) Aegisthus. Among the libation bearers is Electra, the child of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. In terms of loyalties, she is very much her father’s daughter, and she too calls for justice against her mother. Indeed while she mentions her father murdering her sister as a sacrifice to the gods, she does not condemn his actions at all. This play gives less focus on the vindictiveness of Electra than some versions of the story. She inspired the name of Freud’s Electra Complex, a less well-developed theory than his Oedipus Complex. Indeed the notion is less well-developed in the story, since Electra is not wishing to have sex with her father, and while she wants her mother dead she is not willing to strike the blow herself. The duty falls instead to Agamemnon’s son, Orestes. He has returned to Argos to kill Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, thereby continuing the cycle of vengeance set in place in the earlier play. However he lacks the unshakeable conviction of Electra and the Chorus. Perhaps this is because Electra succeeded in getting him out of Argos after her father’s death. While she and her followers have been reduced to a condition approaching slavery by her mother, he does not have those years of maltreatment to harden his attitude towards Clytemnestra. What we have instead is a man who feels the heavy burden of his duty to his father. He alone seems to appreciate the complexities of taking revenge. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus have committed a serious crime that has gone unpunished. However for him to enact justice, he must commit the unnatural act of matricide. This conflict is represented externally by Orestes’ awareness of what will happen to him if he does or does not perform the deed. The god Apollo has promised severe torment for Orestes if he does not kill his mother, but if he does so, this gravest of crimes will unleash the Furies against him, and they will torture him instead. It is a sin to kill his mother, and it is a sin not to avenge his father and restore his father’s name. The gods once more prove to be an unhappy agent in the events of man. They failed to save Agamemnon. They have not punished Clytemnestra and Aegisthus themselves. Instead they leave it to a human agent to try to put right the act that legal process and divine intervention have failed to correct, thereby continuing the curse of blood and vengeance into a third generation of the Argos royal family. The appearance of Clytemnestra serves to further complicate audience sympathies. In the first play she was no mere scarlet woman but someone who was seeking her own revenge for serious wrongs done to her by her husband. Since then she has allowed herself to sink further by her treatment of her daughter, and the ill usage given to her husband’s body. Nonetheless we are wrong-footed by Clytemnestra’s speeches. When Orestes pretends to be a visitor bringing news of his own death, Clytemnestra talks like a grief-stricken mother. Her speech may be insincere –as the Chorus thinks– but it shows how far the natural order has been unsettled that a woman cannot receive full satisfaction from the news that her son is either dead or alive. As in the first play, Aeschylus gives her a chance to put across her arguments to Orestes before he kills her, and they are not implausible. She also finally submits to her death with dignity. At the play’s end , Orestes is indeed being tormented by the Furies as he predicted. However the closing words of the Chorus offer a note of hope. They still believe that the ancestral curse can be lifted during this generation, and the blood feud may finally reach a peaceful and happy ending. How far their hopes are fulfilled is a matter for consideration in the last play in the Oresteian Trilogy, The Eumenides, which I will review next.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    ORESTES "But while I am still in my senses, I proclaim to those who hold me dear and declare that not without justice did I slay my mother, the unclean murderess of my father, and a thing loathed by the gods."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    This is masterful commentary on the second installation of Aeschylus' Oresteia. Perhaps less known than Agamemnon or Eumenides the Choephori is a marvelous play with many highlights that show Aeschylus at his untamed best. Dramatic focus lies on Orestes whose speeches are witty and verge on madness. Electra may not fully come into her own here as she does in Sophocles but her brief appearance is an important forerunner for later renditions. She is herself a mourner briefly depicted on the verge This is masterful commentary on the second installation of Aeschylus' Oresteia. Perhaps less known than Agamemnon or Eumenides the Choephori is a marvelous play with many highlights that show Aeschylus at his untamed best. Dramatic focus lies on Orestes whose speeches are witty and verge on madness. Electra may not fully come into her own here as she does in Sophocles but her brief appearance is an important forerunner for later renditions. She is herself a mourner briefly depicted on the verge of an ultimate, almost mystical renewal of hope. One can already see in Choephori that Electra's fate on the tragic stage might not end here. Also not to be missed is the extended kommos or choral ode sung in call and response between the first and second actors and the chorus. Its expressive power is astounding. For an English reader Gerard Manley Hopkins comes to mind. It is likely that the play's relative unpopularity is due to textual difficulties remaining throughout the work. Much of the commentary is therefore concerned with points of uncertainty. The text itself as printed is not even the editor's own but rather that of Denys Page's OCT from 1973! Therefore the massive work of the commentary, which is worth reading in detail for its wealth of insight, notes and balanced judgements, is actually indispensable. No doubt this incomplete presentation has its disadvantages. The text seems to become more fragmentary and therefore less readable as you familiarize yourself with the discrepancies between Page's edition and whatever the editor here might have chosen to print. The introduction is also very good on the early sources of the story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Edward Cheer

    Short but very sweet. Arguably the best play by Aeschylus I've read yet. Well not sweet as much as it is dark and dismal, but that's the equivalent of being sweet to me. The Libation Bearers takes off from the ending of Agamemnon where we follow Orestes who's out for one thing and one thing only: revenge. He's out for blood against his mother and Aegisthus. The plot is relatively simple but it's the macabre dread and imagery provided by the Chorus that elevates a simple revenge into a very Short but very sweet. Arguably the best play by Aeschylus I've read yet. Well not sweet as much as it is dark and dismal, but that's the equivalent of being sweet to me. The Libation Bearers takes off from the ending of Agamemnon where we follow Orestes who's out for one thing and one thing only: revenge. He's out for blood against his mother and Aegisthus. The plot is relatively simple but it's the macabre dread and imagery provided by the Chorus that elevates a simple revenge into a very consuming drama. I do have issues with it being as short as it is. I think it comes from this play being much longer and losing its pages over the course of time (or perhaps Aeschylus just wrote it that way) but in either case, Libation Bearers is just a little too short for my taste. But to see this gruesome story brought to life on stage would be both a wonder and a horror that I would avidly watch.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mel Bossa

    Orestre in the disguise of a messenger announcing his own death comes to Argos to avenge his father's murder. He is steady in his resolve, backed up by Pytho's oracle and yet, you can feel his doubts. I mean, he is planning to kill his own mother. In this play, the central theme, at least for me, was free will vs fate. When Clytemnestre begs her son for mercy, you can't help feeling pity for her. one thing I liked better in Sophocles's play as opposed to this one was that we got the tale from Orestre in the disguise of a messenger announcing his own death comes to Argos to avenge his father's murder. He is steady in his resolve, backed up by Pytho's oracle and yet, you can feel his doubts. I mean, he is planning to kill his own mother. In this play, the central theme, at least for me, was free will vs fate. When Clytemnestre begs her son for mercy, you can't help feeling pity for her. one thing I liked better in Sophocles's play as opposed to this one was that we got the tale from Electra''s point of view and it was touching. The end here is amazing though...Orestre sees the Furies coming for him and it's pretty chilling. It's almost on a horror movie level. Wouldn't that be cool if they actually made a horror series based on the fall of the house of Agamemnon? Maybe not... On to the last installment...The final act and Eschyles grandiose tale of Athenian justice...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cookie

    Easier and quicker read than Agamemnon (maybe because I got used to the style and the format?) but less enjoyable. Still pretty good but nothing that really struck me. Also, I realise that this is a work from a time where the philosophy and mindset were drastically different from right now but to be honest it makes the book slightly irritating to read in the eye-roll kind of way. The insulting of women is bad but the worst: the hypocrisy of considering a wife killing her *guilty* husband as Easier and quicker read than Agamemnon (maybe because I got used to the style and the format?) but less enjoyable. Still pretty good but nothing that really struck me. Also, I realise that this is a work from a time where the philosophy and mindset were drastically different from right now but to be honest it makes the book slightly irritating to read in the eye-roll kind of way. The insulting of women is bad but the worst: the hypocrisy of considering a wife killing her *guilty* husband as abhorrent while conveniently putting aside the crime at the roots of all this : a father burning alive his innocent daughter alive! This is just beyond me. It made me not root for the 'hero' which might be the reason I enjoyed this less. N.B : how badass is Clytemnestre though? The woman asked for an "hache meutrière". She wanted to fight, how epic is that?!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    3.5? It could have been the older translation, I don’t know, but this one felt the bad stereotype of “part two” in any trilogy: You only care because it links parts one and three. The speeches are beautiful; and, like with Agamemnon, the role the Chorus has with the players is unnerving in a great way. I suppose, if you were to see these three plays live, the LB is a beautiful reflection on what occurs in Agamemnon and what will occur in the Eumenides. So, while it lacks the intensity of the 3.5? It could have been the older translation, I don’t know, but this one felt the bad stereotype of “part two” in any trilogy: You only care because it links parts one and three. The speeches are beautiful; and, like with Agamemnon, the role the Chorus has with the players is unnerving in a great way. I suppose, if you were to see these three plays live, the LB is a beautiful reflection on what occurs in Agamemnon and what will occur in the Eumenides. So, while it lacks the intensity of the first, it’s a “breather” right before hell breaks lose (actually) for Orestes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Nelms

    This is a play concerning the never ending cycle of revenge and bloodshed that comes from its pursuit. Orestes avenges the murder of his father. Part of Aeschylus’ Oresteian trilogy concerning the death of Agamemnon. In summary, Seeking revenge never will bring satisfaction or a sense of completeness. But revenge and bloodshed gives birth to more revenge and mote bloodshed. “Shall I call it that, or death? Where is the end? Where shall the fury of fate be stilled to sleep, be done with?”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ericka Clouther

    This one is really intense, even compared to the first one, "Agamemnon." [2500-Year Old] Spoiler Alert: Orestes kills his mother after she begs him not to. His motives are a bit dubious. Does he not know his father killed his sister Iphigenia? Is he actually just mad his mother sent him to live outside of the castle? Is he just a super religious opportunist who has to follow the Oracle or risk life-failure? Maybe all of these things.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    "Alas, that none of mortal men Can pass his life untouched by pain! Behold, one woe is here-- Another loometh near." Good story, but alas, disconnected by a few thousand years and being several measures shorter than Homer's epic lines, I wasn't exactly enraptured by the whole force of drama, the tragedy, of Orestes and the House of Atreus; perhaps a live performance would do it greater justice.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    #2 of 3 in the Oresteian Trilogy. In "Agamemnon" (#1), Clytemnestra and her love brutally murder King Agamemnon when he returned home from the Trojan War. In "The Libation Bearers" (#2), Agamemnon and Clytemnestra's son Oresteia avenges his father by killing his mother and her lover.

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

    Very good. A strong sequel to Agamemnon. The initial graveside dialogue between Electra and Orestes goes on too long, I think, but overall it was a propulsive drama that sets up an interesting scenario for the third play of the trilogy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nikolas

    I am going to start a screamo band called The Libation-Bearers with lyrics such as, "Hot indignation lives among the dead / and vengeance waits for those who kill / Murder still will propagate / Murder life must fall for life"

  28. 5 out of 5

    Julesmarie

    Some Favorite Quotes: Let it pass, let it pierce, through the sense of thine ear, To thy soul, Children are memory's voices, and preserve The dead from wholly dying: What the gods will, themselves can well provide.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eva

    "for we are bloody like the wolf and savage born from the savage mother"

  30. 4 out of 5

    David Blynov

    After Orestes and Electra mourn their father'sdeath, Orestes decides to take vengeance. This play explores themes of lamentation, revenge, and justice. 3.8/5 After Orestes and Electra mourn their father's death, Orestes decides to take vengeance. This play explores themes of lamentation, revenge, and justice. 3.8/5

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