CL103/EN203

(fall 2009)

Schedule and study questions for Aeschylus:

 

October 29: Prometheus Bound

a. Beyond a narrative of the punishment of Prometheus, what, if anything, is this play about?
b. What is Prometheus like in terms of both character and personality?
c. What is Zeus like in terms of both character and personality?
d. What is Aeschylus' attitude toward the events he portrays on the stage?  How can you tell?
e. What is/are the chorus' function(s)?

f. What is the function of the Io scene?

 

November 2: Agamemnon

Note: The goddess Artemis, angered at Agamemnon for killing a deer sacred to her, prevented the Greek fleet from sailing to Troy until Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter.  In Agamemnon's absence his wife has taken Aigisthos as her lover and co-ruler.  Aigisthos is Agamemnon's enemy because in the previous generation Agamemnon's father Atreus had tricked Aigisthos' father Thyestes into eating a meal containing the flesh of his other children, thereby polluting himself so that he could not rule at Argos.  Orestes, Agamemnon's son, has been sent away from Argos to protect him.  In time he will return to Argos to avenge his father's murder.  This is a well-known story and the audience can be expected to know all of it when the play starts.  As the play opens a watchman is keeping watch for a fire beacon, the last of a chain, which will signal the capture of Troy.

a. Beyond a narrative of the murder of Agamemnon, what, if anything, is this play about?

b. What is Agammenon like in terms of both character and personality?

c. What is Clytaimnestra like in terms of both character and personality?

d. What is Aeschylus' attitude toward the events he protrays on the stage?  How can you tell?

e. What is the point of bringing Aigisthos in at the end of the play?  Is this scene necessary or superfluous?

f. Some people think this is Clytaimnestra’s play, not Agamemnon’s (she is on stage most of the time). What do you think? Is the play her’s or his? Why do you answer as you do?