Aeschylus (525/4–456/5 B.C.E.) was the first of the three great tragic dramatists of ancient Greece, a forerunner of Sophocles and Euripides. His early tragedies were largely choral pageants with minimal plots. In Agamemnon, choral songs still predominate, but Aeschylus infuses them with such dramatic feeling that the spectator or reader is constantly spellbound.
Translator David Mulroy brings this ancient tragedy to life for modern readers and audiences. Using end rhyme and strict metrics, he combines the buoyant lyricism of the Greek text with a faithful rendering of its meaning in lucid English.
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Sleep disappears and in its stead
the memory of pain
drips around the restless heart
a never-ending rain.
Self-knowledge comes to those who wish
and those who wish it not.
Our helmsmen are divinities,
and they’re a violent lot.
chorus from Agamemnon
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