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Seven Against Thebes

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

Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus is a powerful and intense tragedy that delves into the themes of fate, family, and the consequences of war. The play follows the story of two brothers, Eteocles and Polynices, who are both vying for control of the city of Thebes. The tension between the brothers escalates as they gather allies to wage a brutal battle against each other.

Aeschylus masterfully weaves in elements of prophecy and divine intervention, adding a sense of inevitability to the tragic events that unfold. The chorus, comprised of Theban women, provides a haunting commentary on the destructive nature of war and the devastating impact it has on families and communities.

The strength of the play lies in its stark portrayal of the horrors of war and the emotional turmoil experienced by the characters caught in its grip. Aeschylus’ poetic language and vivid imagery bring the ancient Greek setting to life, making the audience feel as though they are witnessing the events firsthand.

Overall, Seven Against Thebes is a gripping and thought-provoking tragedy that explores timeless themes with depth and complexity. A must-read for anyone interested in classic Greek literature and the human experience.

Book Description:
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.

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