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Seven Against Thebes

Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus
By: (c. 525 BCE - c. 456 BCE)

In this, the only extant tragedy from Aeschylus' trilogy about the House of Oedipus, Thebes is under siege from Polynices, a former prince of Thebes. After King Oedipus left his city and cursed the princes, Polynices and his brother, Eteocles, decided to rule alternately, switching at the end of every year. However, at the end of his year as king, Eteocles refused to turn power over to his brother and exiled him, fulfilling his father's curse that the two brothers could not rule peacefully. In the action of the play, Polynices and a group of Argive soldiers are attacking Thebes so that he can take his place as ruler. Eteocles must combat both the foreign forces outside the walls and the crazed, frightened women within. Note: The ending of this play is suspect. The lines Antigone and Ismene's entrance to the end may have been added later, either after Sophocles' Theban plays became popular or in the Middle Ages.

First Page:

FOUR PLAYS OF AESCHYLUS

THE SUPPLIANT MAIDENS THE PERSIANS THE SEVEN AGAINST THEBES THE PROMETHEUS BOUND

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH VERSE BY E.D.A. MORSHEAD, MA.

INTRODUCTION

The surviving dramas of Aeschylus are seven in number, though he is believed to have written nearly a hundred during his life of sixty nine years, from 525 B.C. to 456 B.C. That he fought at Marathon in 490, and at Salamis in 480 B.C. is a strongly accredited tradition, rendered almost certain by the vivid references to both battles in his play of The Persians , which was produced in 472. But his earliest extant play was, probably, not The Persians but The Suppliant Maidens a mythical drama, the fame of which has been largely eclipsed by the historic interest of The Persians , and is undoubtedly the least known and least regarded of the seven. Its topic the flight of the daughters of Danaus from Egypt to Argos, in order to escape from a forced bridal with their first cousins, the sons of Aegyptus is legendary, and the lyric element predominates in the play as a whole... Continue reading book >>


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