Aeschylus

(525 BC - 455 BC / Eleusis)

Aeschylus
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The "Father of Tragedy," Aeschylus was born in 525 B.C. in the city of Eleusis. Immersed early in the mystic rites of the city and in the worship of the Mother and Earth goddess Demeter, he was once sent as a child to watch grapes ripening in the countryside. According to Aeschylus, when he dozed off, Dionysus appeared to him in a dream and ordered him to write tragedies. The obedient young Aeschylus began a tragedy the next morning and "succeeded very easily."

When Aeschylus first began writing, the theatre had only just begun to evolve. Plays were little more than animated oratorios or choral poetry supplemented with expressive dance. A chorus danced and ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''Like a bad doctor who has fallen down sick you are cast down, and cannot find what sort of drugs would cure your ailment.''
    Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), Greek tragedian. Prometheus Bound, l. 473.
  • ''Know yourself and fit yourself to new fashions. For there is a new ruler among the gods.''
    Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), Greek tragedian. Prometheus Bound, l. 309.
  • ''Champing against the bit as a new-yoked colt, you struggle and fight against the reins.''
    Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), Greek tragedian. Prometheus Bound, l. 1009.
  • ''A dreamlike feebleness by which the blind race of man is hampered.''
    Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), Greek tragedian. Prometheus Bound, l. 548.
  • ''For somehow this disease inheres in tyranny, never to trust one's friends.''
    Aeschylus (525-456 B.C.), Greek tragedian. Prometheus Bound, l. 224.
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Comments about Aeschylus

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (3/4/2016 10:18:00 AM)

    Strangely, the inscription on Aeschylus's gravestone makes no mention of him as a poet (one of the greatest Greek tragedian) , but commemorats only his past military achievements:

    Αἰσχύλον Εὐφορίωνος Ἀθηναῖον τόδε κεύθει
    μνῆμα καταφθίμενον πυροφόροιο Γέλας·
    ἀλκὴν δ' εὐδόκιμον Μαραθώνιον ἄλσος ἂν εἴποι
    καὶ βαθυχαιτήεις Μῆδος ἐπιστάμενος

    Beneath this stone lies Aeschylus, son of Euphorion, the Athenian,
    who perished in the wheat-bearing land of Gela;
    of his noble prowess the grove of Marathon can speak,
    and the long-haired Persian knows it well.

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (3/4/2016 4:48:00 AM)

    As a Greek dramatist, the earliest of the great tragic poets - the predecessor of Sophocles and Euripides -, he is the founder of Greek tragedy. It was a major step for drama when Aeschylus introduced the second actor. He also attempted to involve the chorus directly in the action of the play.
    Aeschylus is said to have written about 90 plays. His tragedies, first performed about 500 BC, were presented as trilogies, or groups of three, usually bound together by a common theme, and each trilogy was followed by a satyr drama (low comedy involving a mythological hero, with a chorus of satyrs) .
    The titles of 79 of his plays are known, but unfortunately only 7 have survived.

  • Bob Flanagan (2/24/2013 7:50:00 AM)

    The poem, In our sleep, pain which cannot forget etc, was read by Bobby Kennedy in 1968 on the night that Martin Luther King was shot and killed. Bobby spoke these words during an off the cuff talk giving to a mostly black crowd with the hope of easing their pain and to stop any blood- shed. And it worked it was not spoken by John Kennedy.

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Best Poem of Aeschylus

Song Of The Furies

Up and lead the dance of Fate!
Lift the song that mortals hate!
Tell what rights are ours on earth,
Over all of human birth.
Swift of foot to avenge are we!
He whose hands are clean and pure,
Naught our wrath to dread hath he;
Calm his cloudless days endure.
But the man that seeks to hide
Like him (1), his gore-bedewèd hands,
Witnesses to them that died,
The blood avengers at his side,
The Furies' troop forever stands.

O'er our victim come begin!
Come, the incantation sing,
Frantic all and maddening,
To the heart a brand of ...

Read the full of Song Of The Furies
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