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Aeschylus

Aeschylus (525-456): Athenian poet, author of many tragedies, of which seven survive.

Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Together with Sophocles and Euripides, Aeschylus (525-456) is one of the best-known Athenian tragic poets. In his plays, he addresses complex theological problems. For example, in the trilogy Agamemnon - Choephoroi - Eumenides, he describes how the gods punish a family for a series of murders. The Persians is a superb play, in which the Athenian victory at Salamis (480) is celebrated, written seven years after the event; the remarkable aspect is that Persians are "round" characters, whereas their opponents are almost faceless. Of his remaining tragedies, the Seven against Thebes is a very static play, the Suppliants celebrates the legendary past of Athens, whereas the Prometheus asks why an all-powerful god should be good (the authorship is disputed).

Aeschylus was highly esteemed; fifty years after his death, the comic poet Aristophanes wrote a play, The Frogs, in which Aeschylus and Euripides are presented as the greatest playwrights. Aeschylus himself did not care about his fame: he wanted to be remembered not for his tragedies, but for the fact that he had fought at Marathon, where his brother had been killed in action.

This page was created in 2005; last modified on 24 August 2014.

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