Aeschylus: The Eumenides

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We are extremely fortunate that this play, the concluding work of the trilogy Oresteia, which was produced by the Athenian playwright Aeschylus in 458 B.C.E., survives. Had the title alone survived, we should have been almost totally in the dark about the play’s content. Eumenides means “Well-Wishers” (or “The Kindly Ones”, as is the more conventional rendering), but beyond the inference – not at all inevitable – that, coming after Choephoroi (Libation-Bearers), it had something to do with the fate of the ill-starred kingdom of Argos and its surviving royals, Prince Orestes and his sister Electra, we would probably have been unable to guess why these “Benevolent Ones”, who, as was c…

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Citation: Podlecki, Anthony. "The Eumenides". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 April 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=922, accessed 30 January 2023.]

922 The Eumenides 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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