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  • 1. Aeschylus By Dr. Arlene S. Opina
  • 2. Birth
    • The 'Father of Tragedy’
    • Aeschylus was born in 524 or 525 BC in the city of Eleusis, Greece
  • 3. Map of Homeric Greece
  • 4. Childhood
    • Immersed early in the mystic rites of the city and in the worship of the Mother and Earth goddess Demeter, he was once sent as a child to watch grapes ripening in the countryside.
    • According to Aeschylus, when he dozed off, Dionysus appeared to him in a dream and ordered him to write tragedies.
    • The obedient young Aeschylus began a tragedy the next morning and "succeeded very easily."
  • 5. Family
    • His father, Euphorion, headed a wealthy, aristocratic family.
    • His brother, Cynegirus, died at Marathon, though Aeschylus fought on. Many scholars believe the playwright also participated in the battle at Salamis (480 B.C.), among other engagements.
    • Aeschylus had two sons, Euaion and Euphorion.
    • Euphorion, claimed first prize at the City Dionysia, defeating both Sophocles and Euripides in 431 BC.
  • 6. Aeschylus's education
    • Aeschylus's education included the writings of Homer .
    • It was Homer who proved most inspiring to Aeschylus when he began to write as a teen.
    • He entered his tragedies into the annual competition in Athens and won his first award as a young adult in 484 B.C.E.
    • Aeschylus' writings were strongly Athenian and rich with moral authority.
    • He carried home the first place award from the Athens competition thirteen times!
  • 7. Aeschylus as soldier
    • Aeschylus lived through many exciting events in the history of Athens.
    • Politically the city underwent many constitutional reforms resulting in a democracy.
    • Aeschylus became a soldier and took part in turning back a Persian invasion at the Battle of Marathon (490 B.C.E. ).
  • 8. Athens
    • Following Greek resistance of the Persian Empire, Athens established its independence as a democracy of the elite and intellectual.
    • Athens became the headquarters of the Dalian League of Greek city-states. This brought prosperity to the city and made Athens the center of the Greek cultural world.
    • Nevertheless, Aeschylus's plays left a bigger mark in Greek history than any of his battle accomplishments.
  • 9. Greek Plays in his time
    • When Aeschylus first began writing, the theatre had only just begun to evolve.
    • Plays were little more than animated oratorios or choral poetry supplemented with expressive dance.
  • 10. Greek Plays in his time
    • A chorus danced and exchanged dialogue with a single actor who portrayed one or more characters primarily by the use of masks.
    • Most of the action took place in the circular dancing area or "orchestra" which still remained from the old days when drama had been nothing more than a circular dance around a sacred object.
  • 11. Aeschylus Drama
    • Aeschylus' work has a strong moral and religious emphasis. In his plays, he addresses complex theological problems.
    • Many of his plays end more "happily" than those of the other two; namely, his masterpiece The Oresteia trilogy.
    • Besides the literary merit of his work, Aeschylus' greatest contribution to the theater was the addition of a second actor to his scenes.
  • 12. Aeschylus Drama
    • Previously, the action took place between a single actor and the Greek chorus
    • He also attempted to involve the chorus directly in the action of the play.
    • Although Aeschylus is said to have written over ninety plays, only seven have survived.
  • 13. Aeschylus’ 7 Surviving plays
    • The Suppliants (490 BC?) (Hiketides)
    • The Persians (472 BC) (Persai)
    • Prometheus Bound
    • Seven Against Thebes (467 BC) (Hepta epi Thebas)
    • Agamemnon
    • The Libation Bearers (Choephori)
    • The Eumenides
  • 14. Theater of Dionysos, Athens , where all Aeschylus' plays were first performed.
  • 15. Newly found play
    • In 2003 another Aeschylus play was discovered in the wrappings of a mummy in Egypt.
    • The play, Achilles , was part of a trilogy about the Trojan War.
    • It was known to exist due to mentions in ancient sources, but had been lost for over 2000 years.
  • 16. Death
    • Aeschylus frequently travelled to Sicily, where the tyrant of Gela was a patron.
    • In 458 he travelled there for the last time; according to traditional legend, Aeschylus was killed in 456 when an eagle (or more likely a Lammergeier), mistaking the playwright's bald crown for a stone, dropped a tortoise on his head.
    • He dies in Gela (c. 456 BC) in one of his trips to Sicily and a monument is build there in his memory.