agamemnon - Fredricksmeyer Masterpieces of Greek Literature...

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Fredricksmeyer Masterpieces of Greek Literature Aeschylus. Agamemnon Aeschylus  524—456 (supposed  death  by concussion) : a bird dropped  a clam on his head from wealthy  Eleusinian  family : 14 miles north  of Athens,  scholé/scholar -someone  who  devotes their mind  and  time to creation, writing  etc. From a Greek word  meaning  free  time, rich people had  more free time=scholars historically were wealthy ca. 90 tragedies of which we have 7 relatively complete, and  fragments  of others proudest  of his own  patriotism—epitaph: “I fought  at Marathon” : Greek sense of  patriotisim   (Greeks as political animals/non- political =  idios ) idios - people uninterested  in  politics(only idiots are not interested  in politics)  innovations— added  second  actor (and  then third  under  influence of Sophocles, as in the  Oresteia ) diminished  role of chorus (12 members) increased  importance of dialogue probably invented  trilogy : he has the only surviving  trilogy typical features include— highly dramatic vs. narrative—not what people do, but how  they do it : much   bigger stress on character than  plot, not what people do but the psychology of  why  they do it tragedy  of tension—long  crescendo (building  up  of tension)  followed  by swift  and  often brutal denouement : everything  leading  up  to that conclusion intense interest in crime and  punishment  (and  the workings of divine will and   justice) : roughly  coincides with  the establishment  of a homicide court in Athens frequent  use of “double motivation” : gods help bad  men  to destroy themselves  and  helps great men succeed, human  and  divine will working  simultaneously frequent  use of “overdetermination” : Many factors that end  up  with the same  result, factors working  to effect the same result
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elevated  style (satirized  in Aristophanes :a little bit perverse pompous ) : difficult  language  to read, he can say a lot in relatively few words Agamemnon 458 Diachronic Reading (reading line by line and imagining how the audience responds to each line,in poetry each line is inviting you to reshape what you have thought so far and inviting you to anticipate what is coming) of prologue through line 103 of parodos*, which introduce and begin to develop the trilogy’s central themes, imagery, and so on: Background: Agamemnon is returning from the Trojan War -back to the judgment of Paris: Peleus(human) and Thetis(goddess) don’t invite eros who is the goddess of strife to their wedding. She flies over the wedding and drops a golden apple. Three of the immortal goddesses argue over who should get it (Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena). They go to Zeus and ask him to decide who should get it. They each offer Paris a bride: Aphrodite offers the most beautiful
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agamemnon - Fredricksmeyer Masterpieces of Greek Literature...

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