The Persians and Other Plays (Penguin Classics)

The Persians and Other Plays (Penguin Classics)


Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 014044999X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Aeschylus (525-456 BC) brought a new grandeur and epic sweep to the drama of classical Athens, raising it to the status of high art. The Persians, the only Greek tragedy to deal with events from recent Athenian history, depicts the final defeat of Persia in the battle of Salamis, through the eyes of the Persian court of King Xerxes, becoming a tragic lesson in tyranny. In Prometheus Bound, the defiant Titan Prometheus is brutally punished by Zeus for daring to improve the state of wretchedness and servitude in which mankind is kept. Seven Against Thebes shows the inexorable downfall of the last members of the cursed family of Oedipus, while The Suppliants relates the pursuit of the fifty daughters of Danaus by the fifty sons of Aegyptus, and their final rescue by a heroic king.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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her – [The CHORUS prostrate themselves.] and it is right that we all address her with words of greeting. [The CHORUS rise to their feet, and their leader addresses the QUEEN as she descends from her carriage.] 155 All hail, my Queen, most exalted among the slim-waisted women of Persia, venerable mother of Xerxes and wife of Darius! You were the spouse of one who was a god to the Persians, and you are the mother of their god too, unless our old protecting power has now changed sides against

the gods, the war is turning out well for us. But now, as the prophet3 states – 25–6 that shepherd of fowl,4 who with infallible skill observes birds of augury with his ears and his mind, without using fire5 – this man, the master of this kind of prophecy, says that a great plan for an attack by the Achaeans6 upon the city is 30–31 being discussed this night. So get moving, all of you, to the battlements and gates of the walls – hurry, with your full armour! Man the parapets, take your stand on

proved reliable in single combat. Things are well for the most part – 800 at six gates; but at the Seventh the victor was the awesome Master of Sevens,94 Lord Apollo, wreaking the consequences of Laius’ old act of unwisdom upon the offspring of Oedipus. CHORUS: What further untoward thing has happened to the city? 805 MESSENGER: The men have died at each other’s hands. CHORUS: Who? What are you saying? Your words are frightening me out of my mind. MESSENGER: Collect yourself, and listen. The

weep over: the city is faring well, but its chiefs, the leaders of the two armies, have had the whole possession of their inheritance divided between them by hammered Scythian iron: they will have so much of the land as 819 they will take in burial, having been swept away to an evil fate in accordance with their father’s curse. [He departs.] CHORUS:96 822 {O great Zeus and you gods of the city, who to save these walls of Cadmus, 825 shall I hail with shouts of

the cries of battle, who reaps harvests of men in fields that are not arable,100 cause this Pelasgian land to be wasted by fire – because they took pity on us 640 and cast a kindly vote, and because they respect the suppliants of Zeus, this pitiable flock; nor did they cast their vote with the males, and so spurn 645 the struggle of the women – they heeded Zeus’ avenger,101 ever on the watch, 649–50 hard to combat; what house would be pleased to have him on its roof? where he

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