A new verse translation of Agamemnon, the first play in Aeschylus's trilogy The Oresteia.
Agamemnon, King of Argos, returns to Greece a victor in the Trojan War, bringing with him the seer Cassandra as his war-prize and concubine. Awaiting him is his vengeful wife Clytemnestra, who is angry at Agamemnon's sacrifice of their daughter Iphigeneia to the gods, jealous of Cassandra, and guilty of taking a lover herself. The events that unfold catch everyone in a bloody net, including their absent son Orestes.
Aeschylus was the first of the three great tragic dramatists of ancient Greece, a forerunner of Sophocles and Euripides. His earlier tragedies were largely choral pageants with minimal plots. In Agamemnon, he retains the lyricism of those works, but he infuses this drama with such creativity and energy that the spectator or reader is constantly spellbound. From the speech of the weary watchman on the roof, lying on his forepaws like a dog, to the blood-splattered Clytemnestra who likens herself to a garden in bloom, passage after passage demands to be included in anthologies of Greece's greatest poems.
Translator David Mulroy brings this ancient tragedy to life for modern readers and audiences. Using end rhyme and strict metrics, he combines the buoyant lyricism of the Greek text with a faithful rendering of its meaning in lucid English. The Agamemnon no longer needs to be called a difficult play.
David Mulroy is a professor emeritus of classics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His translations ofThe Complete Poetry of Catullus and of Sophocles' Theban trilogy- Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and Oedipus at Colonus-are all published by the University of Wisconsin Press.