CL106/EN106 Week 8:
1. Aeschylus, 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 scene with Io? What does it add to the play as a whole?
2. Aeschylus, 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 Iphigenia. In Agamemnon's absence his wife has taken Aigisthos as her lover and co-ruler. Aegisthus is Agamemnon's enemy because in the previous generation Agamemnon's father Atreus had tricked Aegisthus' 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 avenge his father's murder. This was a very famous 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 Clytaemnestra 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 Aegisthus in at the end of the play? Is this scene necessary or superfluous?
f. Some people think this is Clytaemnestra's play, not Agamemnon's (she is on stage most of the time). What do you think? Is the play hers or his? Why do you answer as you do?
3. More general questions:
a. Based on your reading of the Prometheus Bound and the Agamemnon, list as many as you can of the ways Greek tragedy is different from modern theater?
b. How do you think your experience of this play would be different if you saw this play performed in a theater instead of reading it on a screen or page?