Aeschylus is an ancient Greek poet. He is most often described as the inventor of tragedy. The classic literary knowledge of the genre belongs to his play, Sophocles.
There are two major ways in which Aeschylus relates the historical facts of his play. In the first, he uses narrative to convey events. In the second, he uses rhetorical questions to induce emotions in the audience. The second technique he employs is highly similar to modern psychological methods of eliciting reactions. Thus, scholars have sought the meaning of Aeschylus through the medium of his drama.
Ancient Greeks considered Aeschylus to be the most skillful playwright of all time, although he received little attention by the ancients. Sophocles called him a master of sophistry, and Pliny the Younger added that he was also a great artist. The first prize won for Aeschylus by the Greeks was the first prize ever awarded in Athens.
Aeschylus wrote over forty plays and many of them were written in Greek dialect. In those works, however, he demonstrated the superiority of Greek creativity in art and style over the works of the ancient Egyptians or the Romans. The earliest of his trilogy, the Aeneid, was written in Greek and based on the story of the Trojan War. His other two trilogies, the Aeneides and the Agamemnon, also were written in Greek and used the same themes. In fact, much of what we call the “trilogy” of Aeschylus actually took place within the Aeneid, though other events occurred outside the purview of this particular work.
It was not until the fourth century after Aeschylus had lived that a complete trilogy by this writer was recorded. The First Book of Aeschylus, the Lachesis, covers the events surrounding the Trojan War. The second book, the Persian’s Affair, describes the seduction of Persian women by the Trojan prince, Aeschylus.
The playwrights Aeschylus and Sophocles left their mark on Western literature in a number of different ways. Both Aeschylus and Sophocles wrote pieces that become famous works of drama, most notably the tragedies Antigone and Bacchus. Their works also introduced the term “apygie” into Greek literature, which means drama. Later, this term would also come to be used in English to describe plays written about events in ancient Greece and Italy.
The plays of Aeschylus continue to be popular even today. Many of his best-known works have been adapted into movies and TV series, including the 1980s Italian version of Aeschylus, Amadeus. An ancient version of the play, the Agamemnon, has been discovered recently. This version of the Agamemnon, written by a Greek poet named Sophocles, is similar to the original play, except that it is not based on any of the books of Aeschylus. However, modern viewers can at least learn something of the setting of the play when the Agamemnon movies were first shown.
The works of Aeschylus continue to be famous today. His theatrical plays, composed mostly of tragedy and comedy, are often referenced in popular literature, Hollywood movies, and songs. He is also known for his influential music, especially hisymphology, and for his three major works, the Aeschylus trilogy, the Agamemnon, and the Othello. These three works remain among the finest of tragedies and comedies ever written. In addition, the trilogy has been regarded as one of the greatest works of late classical Greek drama.
The first of the three Aeschylus trilogy, the Aeschylusyssey, tells the story of the Trojan War. In this play, Aeschylus presents his readers with the beginning of the Trojan War. According to the tale, Trojan prince Agamemnon tricked the city of Troy into giving him military aid, believing that he would defeat the Greeks. However, when the Greeks arrived to aid Troy, Agamemnon was killed and the city of Troy became a part of the Greek realm.
The second Aeschylus play to receive wide acclaim is the Persian Nights. The play concerns the life of the king of Persia, Cyrus. Cyrus had adopted a philosophy that ordering people to sacrifice for the common good and to resist any urge to use force against their fellow citizens. Although the Persian kings succeeded for a short time, eventually they were crushed at the hands of the Greeks, who were aided by Persians auxiliary troops known as the suppliants.
The third part of the trilogy, the Sejanus Trices, concerns the reign of Sejanus, which saw the rise of one of the most feared kings in history. The story details how Sejanus, using his newly found power, ordered the Roman poet Virgil to be killed and then murdered the other two poets. After this was done, Sejanus purged all persons of influence, including the members of the court. In the play, Aeschylus relates how the two houses of the plebeians who were loyal to him were murdered by the Greeks; thus, restoring to power the House of Aesculapius.