Aeschylus is the first of the great Greek playwrights, and the four plays in this volume demonstrate the remarkable range of Greek tragedy. Persians is the only surviving tragedy to draw on contemporary history, the Greeks' extraordinary victory over Persia in 480 BC. The Persians' aggression is inhuman in scale, and offends the gods, but while celebrating the Greek triumph, Aeschylus also portrays the shock of the defeated with some compassion. In
Seven Against Thebes a royal family is cursed with self-destruction, in a remorseless tragedy that anticipates the grandeur of the later Oresteia. Suppliants portrays the wretched plight of the daughters of Danaus, fleeing from enforced marriage; as refugees they seek protection, and must plead a moral and
political case to gain it. And in Prometheus Bound, Prometheus is relentlessly persecuted by Zeus for benefitting mankind in defiance of the god.
Christopher Collard's highly readable new translation is accompanied by an introduction that sets the plays in their original context, and together with the notes considers theatrical and poetic issues, as well as details of content and language.
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