Saturday, November 30, 2019

Historical Play Project; Agamemnon: Day 1

Period 1:

Please turn in your Aristotle's Poetics Notes for Antigone (see previous post/handout for details.)

During period 1, please work on your historical play project drafts.

Period 2: Agamemnon

AGAMEMNON by Aeschylus:
Image result for agamemnon
The Oresteia by Aeschylus is the only complete Greek trilogy. These three plays: AgamemnonThe Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides tell the story of the House of Atreus in Argos.

Today and this week we will be watching the production of Peter Hall's Agamemnon, translated by Tony Harrison. In Harrison's script, you will note the use of alliteration and kenning. These literary devices and techniques are Anglo Saxon in origin, not Greek. The Greeks had their own cadence and rhythm to their plays. Other elements and theatrical conventions, such as the use of masks, flutes, drums, and an all-male cast are standard Greek tragedy style.

Key mortal characters in the myth are: Thyestes, Atreus, Aegisthus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Odysseus, Helen, Paris, Priam, Cassandra, Iphigenia, Orestes, and Electra.

Key immortal characters include: Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, The Furies (Eumenides...also called the Erinyes, the Kindly Ones, The Daughters of the Night were spirits of vengeance, murder, and jealousy. Their names are Tisiphone, Megaera, and Alecto to be specific).

• Atreus and Thyestes (brothers, sons of Pelops) fought because Thyestes challenged the throne of Argos and seduced Atreus’ wife.
• Thyestes was defeated by his brother and driven out of Argos, but returned as a suppliant with his children. A suppliant is like a homeless beggar.
• Atreus invited the family to a feast (where he slaughtered Thyestes children and served them to their father as dinner).
• Thyestes ate his children, unknowingly.
• When he found out what had happened, he cursed the house of Atreus and fled with his remaining son, Aegisthus.
• Agamemnon and Menelaus are the sons of Atreus, inheriting Argos.
• Agamemnon married Clytemnestra
• Menelaus married Helen.
• Helen ran off with Paris (or Paris, like Thyestes, seduced Helen) and this started the Trojan War.
• Agamemnon and Clytemnestra had three children: Iphigeneia, Electra, and Orestes.
• Menelaus convinced his brother Agamemnon to help him get his wife back from Troy.
• The gods (Artemis) were protecting the Trojans and didn’t bring them the wind needed to sail to Troy
• Calchas, the prophet, divined that the gods were angry and wanted a sacrifice.
• Calchas and Menelaus encouraged Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter Iphigeneia.
• Agamemnon did so and gained favor and wind from Zeus; the Athenians sailed to Troy, won the war and sacked Troy. The battle lasted 10 years. This is, of course, the Trojan War.
• At beginning, Aegisthus has returned to Argos, now the lover of Clytemnestra (think Penelope and Odysseus), and exiled Orestes (he’s the rightful ruler, you see).
• Greek torchbearers or Messengers will light the beacon fire when Troy has fallen.
• Agamemnon, with his “prize” Cassandra (the daughter of Priam, king of Troy), returns after the war to a “warm” welcome.
CLASSROOMAgamemnon, Part 1. We will view Peter Hall's production of Agamemnon. You should refer to your script (handout) with any questions about the play or its episodes. If you miss something or are absent you can read the play and complete the answers easily.

Please complete the questions regarding Agamemnon as you watch the play. Your answers are due when you finish viewing (probably next class). The viewing sheet will count as a quiz grade for the marking period.

HOMEWORK: None. If you have not yet finished your historical play, please aim to do that. Drafts are due Friday, Dec. 6.

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