Aeschylus' Persae, first produced in 472 BC, is the oldest surviving Greek tragedy. it's also the one extant Greek tragedy that bargains, no longer with a mythological topic, yet with an occasion of modern heritage, the Greek defeat of the Persians at Salamis in 480 BC. in contrast to Aeschylus' different surviving performs, it's it seems that no longer a part of a attached trilogy. during this re-creation A. F. Garvie encourages the reader to evaluate the Persae by itself phrases as a drama. it's not a patriotic party, or a play with a political manifesto, yet a real tragedy, which, faraway from offering an easy ethical of hybris punished by way of the gods, poses questions touching on human discomfort to which there aren't any effortless solutions. In his advent Garvie defends the play's constitution opposed to its critics, and considers its sort, the opportunity of thematic hyperlinks among it and the opposite performs provided through Aeschylus at the similar celebration, its staging, and the nation of the transmitted textual content. The statement develops in larger aspect a few of the conclusions of the advent.
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Extra resources for Aeschylus: Persae
Atossa remains silent, not because Aeschylus has still to learn how to handle the second actor (pp. 143–5), but because the disaster in the ﬁrst instance aﬀects Persia as a whole, and it is the Chorus’s job to deal with that theme. When Atossa does begin to question the Messenger, her ﬁrst concern, as the Messenger understands, is with the fate of her husband. When, later, the Ghost of Darius appears above his tomb, he turns ﬁrst to the Chorus, but this time it is too frightened to respond properly, and Atossa has to take over; most of our attention in this scene is to be directed to the failure and tragedy of Xerxes as an individual.
Our judgement of it must be based on the play’s entirety. In the last resort it may not make much practical diﬀerence whether we favour the amoral or the xxxii Introduction moral interpretation. It is only after Xerxes has failed that we can tell that Xerxes has gone too far. According to Dickie (89 on P. Py. 55–6), ‘there is a limit to human felicity beyond which a man might not attempt to go; to do so is an act of hybris’; and (106) ‘having mortal thoughts means knowing what our limitations as mortals are’.
It knows that hybris is wrong, but the problem is to know in advance what hybris is. It might well decide to refrain from burning temples, but what about building bridges or crossing the sea? It is a gross over-simpliﬁcation to say that Xerxes deserves to suﬀer (p. xxiii), or that the audience can be sure that, whether as individuals or as a city, it is itself immune from suﬀering. What the audience has learnt is that the problem of causality and responsibility is not a simple one. 63 It consists, 61 Rosenbloom 102 puts it well: ‘Darius’ history of the Persian empire is a story of continuous expansion.
Aeschylus: Persae by Aeschylus