The Failure of Orestes

While many other Greek tragedies tend to reiterate already established myths and customs, Euripides's Orestes appears to be entirely his own invention. Chronologically, the plot of the play takes place after the events contained in Aeschylus's Libation Bearers. It was first performed in 408 BC, near the close of the Peloponnesian War. In Orestes, Electra recounts the story … Continue reading The Failure of Orestes

Notes on the Trachiniae

In The Women of Trachis, also called the Trachiniae, Sophocles exposes the audience to the recollections of a domestic woman, Deianira (Greek for "destroyer of husband"), and wife of the great Heracles (Romanized as Hercules). In contract to Aeschylus's portrayal of Clytemnestra at the end of the Trojan War in his Oresteia, the audience is compelled to sympathize … Continue reading Notes on the Trachiniae

A Brief Note on Aeschylean Tragedy

In his day, Aeschylus had published and produced more than ninety plays. Today, seven have survived. We are the fortunate beneficiaries of the complete Oresteia trilogy, telling the story of Orestes in avenging the blood of his father, and also in Zeus declaring the predominance of law, over vengeance. This theme of this emergence of, and protection … Continue reading A Brief Note on Aeschylean Tragedy

Plato’s Republic Book II (Part I): Glaucon and Adeimantus

Glaucon and Adeimantus, both brothers and Athenians (brothers of Plato), make up the bulk of the remainder of the Republic. Both brothers are praised by Socrates for their noble actions as soldiers at Megara and also for their aristocratic lineage, descending from Ariston (meaning "excellence"). The Battle of Megara was a crucial victory for the Athenians … Continue reading Plato’s Republic Book II (Part I): Glaucon and Adeimantus

Aristotle, Oedipus, and Greek Tragedy

There is a rigorous debate among scholars that has perpetuated for hundreds of years, dating back to Aristotle, about whether or not the purpose, or telos, of a tragedy is to determine a particular character flaw of the central protagonist. That is, to inquire about whether or not Oedipus is, indeed, a flawed human being who has, somehow, … Continue reading Aristotle, Oedipus, and Greek Tragedy