Aeschylus' Oresteia is a tragedy of inescapable killing within one family, such that each generation must avenge it in kind. Right and wrong are ambiguous in this harsh system. Their conflict is resolved, and the family saved from extinction, in the case of Orestes the latest and matricidal killer. The gods' wisdom and the human process together inaugurate a way of just conduct which will ensure stable families and community; and the exemplary setting for this transition from the mythic to the historical is Aeschylus' own city of Athens.The Oresteia is majestic as theatre and poetry; its recent successful return to the stage has confirmed its very high place in world drama. This new and close translation tries to preserve these qualities: introductory and explanatory matter emphasizes the interconnection of scenes, ideas, and language which distinguishes this unique work, the only trilogy to survive from Greek tragedy.
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