Lucius Annaeus Seneca: Thyestes

(1644 words)
  • Christopher Trinacty (University of Missouri-Columbia)

In his play Thyestes, Seneca utilizes the tragic tale of the house of Tantalus to explore the psychological depths of tyranny, revenge, and dynastic miasma. The Thyestes details the relationship between the brothers Atreus and Thyestes and their struggle for supremacy, which results in Thyestes’ cannibalistic consumption of his own children. This is a mythological house known for such transgressions and the opening scene presents the ghost of Tantalus (grandfather of Atreus and Thyestes), who infects the household with his insatiable thirst and hunger. These motifs resonate both physically and figuratively throughout the play. Atreus and Thyestes were supposed to rule the kingdom alternately but their power-…

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Citation:
Trinacty, Christopher . "Thyestes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 May 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=13467, accessed 20 April 2014.]


Related Groups

  1. Revenge Tragedy