The Oresteia is the only trilogy of tragedy plays to survive from Ancient Greece. Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides have established the enduring themes of Greek tragedy--the inexorable nature of Fate, the relationship between justice, revenge, and religion. In this family history, Fate and the gods decree that each generation will repeat the crimes and endure the suffering of their forebears. When Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, their son Orestes must avenge his father's death. Only Orestes' appeal to the goddess Athena saves him from his mother's Furies, breaking the bloody chain; together gods and humans inaugurate a way of just conduct that will ensure stable families and a strong community.
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The Oresteia is majestic as theater and as literature, and this new translation seeks to preserve both these qualities. The introduction and notes emphasize the relationship between the scenes, ideas, and language that distinguishes this unique work.