An Oresteia Agamemnon by Aiskhylos; Elektra by Sophokles; Orestes by Euripides

Aiskhylos; Sophokles; Euripides; Translated by Anne Carson

Faber & Faber



Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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Winner of the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation
In this innovative rendition of The Oresteia, the poet, translator, and essayist Anne Carson combines three different visions—Aiskhylos' Agamemnon, Sophokles’ Elektra, and Euripides’ Orestes—giving birth to a wholly new experience of the classic Greek triumvirate of vengeance. After the murder of her daughter Iphegenia by her husband Agamemnon, Klytaimestra exacts a mother’s revenge, murdering Agamemnon and his mistress, Kassandra. Displeased with Klytaimestra’s actions, Apollo calls on her son, Orestes, to avenge his father’s death with the help of his sister Elektra. In the end, Orestes, driven mad by the Furies for his bloody betrayal of family, and Elektra are condemned to death by the people of Argos, and must justify their actions—signaling a call to change in society, a shift from the capricious governing of the gods to the rule of manmade law.

Carson’s accomplished rendering combines elements of contemporary vernacular with the traditional structures and rhetoric of Greek tragedy, opening up the plays to a modern audience. In addition to its accessibility, the wit and dazzling morbidity of her prose sheds new light on the saga for scholars. Anne Carson’s Oresteia is a watershed translation, a death-dance of vengeance and passion not to be missed.


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An Oresteia
AGAMEMNONby AiskhylosINTRODUCTIONIt's like watching a forest fire. Big, violent, changing every minute and the sound not like anything else.Every character in Agamemnon sets fire to language in a different way. Klytaimestra is a master of technologies, starting with the thousand-mile relay of beacons that brings news of the fall of Troy all the way from Asia to her in the first scene. She reenacts the relay in language that is so brilliant and so aggressive, she is like a conqueror naming parts of the world she now owns. She goes on to own everyone in the play--the chorus by argument
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  • Aiskhylos; Sophokles; Euripides; Translated by Anne Carson

  • Anne Carson was born in Canada and teaches Ancient Greek for a living. She is currently a professor of classics, comparative literature and English at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.