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Ices each by the others hand Long dismissed by critics as ritualistic and lacking in dramatic tension Seven Against Thebes is revealed by Hecht and Bacon as a work of great unity and drama one exceptionally rich in symbolism and image SPOILER ALERT O The Uninvited Corpse (Food Blogger Mysteries the others hand Long dismissed by critics as ritualistic and lacking in dramatic Reconstructing the Dreamland tension Seven Against Thebes is revealed by Hecht and Bacon as a work of great unity and drama one exceptionally rich in symbolism and image SPOILER ALERT O

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Ἑπτὰ ἐπὶ Θήβας

The formidable talents of Anthony Hecht one of the most gifted of contemporary American poets and Helen Bacon a classical scholar are here brought to bear on this vibrant translation of Aeschylus' much underrated tragedy The Seven Aga When a curse ar Little Reds Riding Hood talents of Anthony Hecht one of The Return of a Gangsters Girl the most gifted of contemporary American poets and Helen Bacon a classical scholar are here brought Hard Pass (Forbidden Plays, to bear on Cut and Run this vibrant Beautiful Bandit (Lone Star Legends, translation of Aeschylus' much underrated Daddy Rapes His Little Daughter During School 2 Story Bundle tragedy The Seven Aga When a curse ar

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Inst Thebes The third and only remaining play in a trilogy dealing with related events The Seven Against Thebes tells the story of the Argive attempt to claim the Kingdom of Thebes and of the deaths of the brothers Eteocles and Polyne Structurally th


10 thoughts on “Ἑπτὰ ἐπὶ Θήβας

  1. says:

    When a curse arising from an ancient oracle Falls due the settlement is heavy3 12This is the second of seven plays by Aeschylus which have survived It was written around 467 BC It was probably not given this name when first performed in Athens The Athenians were sort of pissed off at Thebes at this time since a dozen years before it was produced Thebes had provided a force which fought on the side of the Persians at the Battle of Plataea In the play itself Thebes is not mentioned – rather its called Cadmea after Cadmus the founder of ThebesThe play was originally written as the third part of a trilogy the first two being Laius and Oedipus the backstoryLaius was the great grandson of Cadmus When he was king of Thebes the Oracle of Delphi prophesied to him that if he had a male child the child would slay him and marry his wife Laius and his wife Jocasta did in fact have a son but they feared the prophesy and arranged that the babe should be left in the mountains to dieWell stuff happens The child did not die and grew up to be a man called Oedipus You may know the story Oedipus through a strange series of events did kill Laius not knowing who he was and eventually did marry Jocasta neither of them knowing what they were doing – giving the world the term Oedipus complex Four children issued from them two sons Polyneices and Eteocles and two daughters Antigone and IsmeneEventually events transpire which leads to Oedipus and Jocasta learning their blood relationship Jocasta that her husband is her son that their children are her grandchildren you get the idea Oedipus blinds himself as contrition for the horrible crime he has unknowingly committed; Jocasta kills herself There are different versions of what followed Some say Oedipus was banished or banished himself; some say he lived on in the palace as his children grew up One way or another Oedipus became enraged at the sons at some point and cursed them to the effect that they would die at each other's hands It's here in the legend that Oedipus invokes the Erinyes to assure that the curse will be carried out See below for a comment on the ErinyesEventually Oedipus died in foreign lands still attended by Antigone When the sons reached the age of majority they argued about who would rule the younger Eteocles won out and Polyneices took refuge in Argos from where he decided to wage war on ThebesThat's the situation when the play startsthe playMuch of the play isn't all that interesting It is 1078 lines long Almost 23 of it is occupied with for us a pretty boring listing of the six invading chieftains who have been selected to assault six gates of Thebes and who Polyneices will select to oppose them The armour of each attacker is described in detail the boastfulness and blood lust of each of them is laid out all with commentary by Polyneices who invokes the gods to help Thebes defend against the unholy attackIn all this there is a chorus which has about half the lines These are women who are lamenting the attack and emphasize their great fear at what will happen to them if when? the attackers win the city Polyneices repeatedly basically tells the women to shut up and stop wailing instead be brave trust in the gods and their own heroes to defend the city This is repeated as each of the six gates are mentionedThe play get's interesting when Polyneices is told that the seventh gate will be assaulted by his brother So I'll let the description go at this point no spoilersThe appearance of Oedipus' daughters near the end of the play adds additional interest However ancient sources tell us that Aeschylus did not write this section of the play it was added decades later for reasons apparently associated with the popularity of Sophocles play Antigone The translator tells us that we have no way of knowing how the last section of the play was actually composed by Aeschylus hence there's nothing to do but simply translate what we have – even though we know it's not accuratethe edition I have is the Penguin Classics edition containing four plays this one Prometheus Bound The Suppliants and The Persians The translator was Philip Vellacott who also writes a good Introduction and supplies very useful end notes to specific words phrases and references in the playsthe ErinyesMention of the Erinyes recalled to me the sixth book of Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time The Kindly Ones The Greek Eumenides the gracious ones or the kindly ones was another name for the Erinyes an example of an oft repeated idea in ancient cultures to bestow an alternative name on fearsome deities which would allow mention of them without giving voice to the original name in order to ward off bad fortune Previous review Main StreetNext review PyramidOlder review The Scandals of ClochemerlePrevious library review The Persians Next library review Prometheus Bound both by Aeschylus


  2. says:

    Poor Polynices and Eteocles though to be honest Eteocles is an asshat The whole thing was justSo yeah Basically cursed by their grandfather Laius for disobeying Apollo and compounded by their father Oedipus Yikes You knew it wasn't going to end well Antigone is still my girl gotta reread it HERALDI forbid you to act thus in violation of the cityANTIGONEI forbid you to make useless proclamations to me Best part of this one were the cool descriptions of the Argives' shields SWEET Some awesome designs


  3. says:

    The Seven Against Thebes is a play centered around the prelude to the attack on Thebes by seven warlords including one of Oedipus' sons I like to think of it as a preuel to Antigone; in fact I think I could throw this play in with the Theban plays of Sophocles even though it was a different playwright who wrote it That being said if this play is read before the Theban plays it ties in very very wellI didn't think that this was Aeschylus' best play ever in fact it is one of the weaker ones that I have read by him in comparison to the brilliant Oresteia trilogy However it is still a very clever play that is about one of the most famous stories of Greek mythology Having read Antigone before I was very fascinated to actually be able to tell what kind of people the brothers of Antigone are and what the drive is for them to kill each other so brutally By the end of this play I was very surprised at the clean tie in the conclusion would make to the beginning of Antigone I would highly recommend reading this after Oedipus at Colonus and before Antigone


  4. says:

    Structurally this play reminded me a bit of The Suppliants a lot of action is crammed into the pages of this tiny play dealing with themes such as war the curse of Oedipus determinismfate as they relate to this and brotherly conflict with Eteocles and Polyneices the Cain and Abel of this little work but as with The Suppliants we are told about the action before it unfolds and after it has been unfolded Whereas Shakespeare often shows us the action in the process of unfolding Aeschylus' characters simply recount the great events that occur in the pages of this play much like a historian And there is nothing wrong with this Tolstoy one of my favorites does this many times throughout War Peace even if I prefer seeing the plot unfold It is also a very interesting play for its philosophical inuiries as it raises interesting uestions about things like fatedeterminism war and relative perception But I think the merits of the work over all pale in comparison with Prometheus Bound which I am now considering the centerpiece of Aeschylus' great tragedies


  5. says:

    The jealous rivalry of two brothers12 March 2012 When we come to Aeschylus we must remember that this is drama at its most primitive This is because the works of Aeschylus are the oldest form of drama that remains extant It appears that Aeschylus wrote most of his plays as trilogies and unfortunately we only have one play of this trilogy available It is difficult to know what exactly was the reason why only seven plays of Aeschylus were chosen to be preserved and why these particular plays were chosen The only complete trilogy we have is the Orestea however it is clear of the other four plays that we have at least three of them are parts of a trilogy It is suggested that this one is the final part of a trilogy most likely dealing with the story of Oedipus I am not uite convinced that this is the final play because it appears that the end of this play will then follow on to the despite between Antigone and Creon as the king is named in the Sophoclean play over whether it is lawful or unlawful for Antigone to bury her brother I suspect that the first play dealt with Oedipus returning to Thebes and discovering that he has inadvertently fulfilled the prophecy by killing his father and marrying his mother and then gouging his eyes out and sending himself into exile This would be the second it begins rather abruptly and ends rather abruptly Unlike other plays there is not much detail of what happened before and there is a flagging reference at the end that things have not necessarily been solved The play begins with the city of Thebes under siege Oedipus had two sons one of them is Etocles who remained in the city and became king; the other is Polyneices who after having a dispute with Etocles went into exile and returned with six heroes to attempt to depose his brother A bulk of the play deals with Etocles conversing with either the chorus or soldiers though the end has Antigone come in with Ismene However while there are at times three actors on the stage only two of them ever converse It does not appear that proper dialogue between multiple characters had at this stage been developed Some have criticised this play for having nothing happen and then refer to Shakespeare and say 'look at how much better he is' This in my opinion is a very bad method of comparing plays First of all this is not Shakespeare this is Aeschylus and secondly the two playwrights live at least 1000 years apart By the time we arrive at Shakespeare a lot had changed and drama had developed significantly Back here in the days of Aeschylus drama was very much still an advanced form of storytelling and we can see that in this play Basically there is no action occurring on stage it is all dialogue but the dialogue is painting a picture of what is occurring off stage There is no battle on stage this is not what Greek drama was about There was dancing and that was the role of the chorus and I also believe that most of the story was sung not spoken We do see a form of character interaction a couple of times in the play Etocles is attempting to calm the chorus of Theban woman down so as not to cause a panic and later Antigone is debating with the chorus about giving proper rights for Polyneices The play also ends with a city divided The chorus splits in two and half go off to join the side that agrees that Polyneices should be exposed and left for the birds while the other half agree with Antigone that Polyneices should be buried However this dispute is not resolved at the end of the play which is why I suspect that this is not the end but the middle Still I found it difficult to get into this play than I do with Euripides but this is most likely because Euripides is the next generation of dramatist where there are well developed character interactions and debate among characters of ideas of woman's rights human suffering forgiveness and repentance While the three unities remain important and the chorus is still present we see that drama has made a step forward Unfortunately we have very little else to assist us analysing how drama developed Along with the three great tragedians we also have the old comedy of Aristophanes however after that we jump to a collection of fragments by Menander and then to the farce of Terrence and Plautus As for drama there is a substantial gap of at least five hundred years until we come to the writings of Seneca After Seneca we pretty much have nothing until the appearance of the mystery plays of the Middle Ages However we know from the ruins that drama was incredibly popular pretty much every ancient city in Roman times had a theatre It is a shame that we have very little indication of what was actually performed in them


  6. says:

    Fate and sibling rivalry


  7. says:

    33 Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylustranslated from Ancient Greek by George Theodoridis 2010performed 467 bce format 50 page length webpage Jun 7 8rating ?? starsA complex play than the Persians Still all the action happens off stage This was the third in a trilogy on Oedipus but the first two plays are lost The first Laius would have covered the story of Laius King of Thebes receiving the curse that this son would kill him He ordered Oedipus killed but Oedipus was saved and raised not knowing who his parents were He would later kill Laius and marry his mother The second play Oedipus would have covered Oedipus's discovery of his accidental crime after having four children He placed a curse on his sons Eteocles Polyneices saying they would kill each other In the legend the brother's agree to trade the kingship First Eteocles and then Polyneices But Eteocles refuses to step down so Polyneices gathers an army of heroes an attacks Thebes And that gets us hereWhat was most interesting to me is that Aeschylus uses a lot of humor in an otherwise formulaic tragedy As the attacks mount the woman inside Thebes panic and start bewailing to their gods dreading their treatment once conuered Eteocles tries to be respectful while pleading for sanity But there are lots of curiosities here The seven heroic attackers are all described with great attention given to their shields One Amphiaraus was a seer and foresaw his own death in the battle and carries an blank shield The ending of the play is not original It was reworked so that Antigone a daughter of Oedipus would remain consistent her character in a later play by Sophocles


  8. says:

    In Shakespeare's Richard the Second the entire first act is spent preparing for a duel between two characters Then just as the blade to blade action is ready to begin the duel is called off by the king denying the audience of any momentary climax Imagine that Act as an entire play and you've got Seven Against Thebes It's like a boxing match in which all we hear is the opening ring announcer and then the post fight commentary Seriously the majority of the play is spent proclaiming who will fight who This comes without any satisfying outcome for all the build up The only satisfaction can come from an audience eagerly anticipating the answer to the uestion I wonder who's at the next gate? Don't get me wrong there is some great poetry and I fully understand that there was no possibility given the stage conventions of Greek Tragedy of a Mortal Kombat style throw down between each gate's defender and attacker However the best Greek Tragedies focus on some fiercely debated dilemma that often prove captivating or a character with a fascinating downfall This play has neither of these two things As a result this tragedy is difficult to perform and therefore rarely performedI was part of a production of this play that did at least I felt prove moderately entertaining Two things helped First having a very good chorus that through their intensity added some urgency to the upcoming battle Second paring it with Sophocles Antigone which helped give a satisfying conclusion to the story I played the Herald by the way I recommend reading Seven Against Thebes only to those really interested in Greek theatre


  9. says:

    SPOILER ALERT One of the worlds oldest plays but it nonetheless is a read worthwhile It is an interesting exploration of the human condition a king is forced to fight his own brother in order to protect his own city and is doomed in the process As is usual the case with Greek tragedies the element of hubris lies at the center of this play; instead of listening to the advice of the choir Eteokles continues on the path to his own doom Comments on the form being a director I am interested in new ways of performing theater This Greek tragedy mixes elements of poetry with traditional dialogue which makes for an interested contrast to the modern dialogue driven pieces one is used to I would recommend this play to anyone interested in the origin of theater as well as those who want to delve into a culture different from our own


  10. says:

    I liked Heaney's adaptation of Sophocles 'Antigone' the this Aeschylus original I mention Heaney's because the play revolves around the same storyline but obviously different angles and authors My challenge with this play is that the action is narrated second hand rather than directly between Eteocles and Polynices The result is a distance between the reader and the action and a lack of emotional connection to any of the characters


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