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- Specimens of Greek Tragedy - 3/44 -

Cassandra's Prophecy. Lines 1149-1391

Cassandra's Prophecy fulfilled. Lines 1343-1554



Orestes discovers himself to Electra. Lines 158-274

Clytaemnestra pleads to her Son Orestes for her Life in Vain. Lines 860-916



Orestes is tried as a Matricide before the Court of the Areopagus at Athens. Lines 536-747




The Plague-stricken Thebans supplicate Oedipus for Relief. Lines 1-77

Oedipus calls upon Tiresias to reveal the Murderer of Laius. Lines 300-462

The Death of Polybus announced. The Secret of Oedipus's Incest and Murder revealed. Lines 924-1085

Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus puts out his Eyes. The Scene described. Lines 1223-1296

Oedipus bewails his Calamities. His Colloquy with Creon. Lines 1369-1514



Oedipus and Antigone arrive at Colonus and enter the Consecrated Ground. Lines 1-110

The Chorus chants the Praises of Colonus. Lines 668-719

Length of Days: Choric Hymn. Lines 1211-1238

The End of Oedipus. Lines 1579-1667



Antigone proposes to Ismene to take a Part in paying the Last Rites to their Brother Polynices. Lines 1-99

Antigone is caught by the Guard paying Funeral Rites to the Corpse of Polynices, and is brought before Creon. Lines 384-581

A Colloquy between Creon and his Son Haemon, to whom Antigone is betrothed. Lines 631-780

The Power of Love: Choric Hymn. Lines 781-800

Antigone is sent to her Death by Creon. Lines 882-928

Creon, having been brought to Repentance by the Denunciations of the Prophet Tiresias, sets out to bury the Corpse of Polynices and release Antigone from the Cave of Death. The Issue is recounted by a Messenger to the Queen, Eurydice. Lines 1155-1243



Tecmessa, a Captive with whom Ajax lives as his Wife, tells the Chorus of Salaminian Mariners what has befallen their Chieftain. Lines 284-330

Ajax bewails his own Fall. Tecmessa tries to comfort him and turn him from Violent Courses. Lines 430-595

Ajax pretends to be softened, and to be going forth only for the Harmless Purpose of Purification in a Running Stream, though he is really going to his Death. Lines 646-692

The Last Speech of Ajax. Lines 815-865



The Tutor of Orestes tells Clytaemnestra a Fictitious Story of her Son's Death by a Fall in a Chariot Race. Electra is on the Scene. Lines 660-822

Electra's Sister Chrysothemis, having found the offerings of Orestes on his Father's Tomb, brings what she deems glad Tidings to Electra, who meets her with the Announcement that the Pedagogos has just brought Certain News of their Brother's Death. Electra, now reduced to Despair, proposes to Chrysothemis that they should themselves attempt to slay Aegisthus. Lines 871-1057

Orestes enters with the Urn which, it is pretended, contains his Ashes. His Recognition ensues. Lines 1097-1231



Deianira imparts the Secret of her Device for regaining the Love of her Husband, Hercules, and puts the Fatal Robe into the Hands of Lichas, the Herald, that he may carry it to Hercules. Lines 531-632

Deianira recounts to the Chorus an Alarming and Portentous Incident. Then Hyllus, the Son of Hercules, comes and announces the Catastrophe. Lines 663-820



Ulysses explains the Plan of Action to Neoptolemus, and labours to bend him to his Purpose. Lines 1-134

Neoptolemus having filched the Bow of Philoctetes, Philoctetes prays him to restore it. Lines 927-962



Prometheus, the good Titan, has been raising mankind from the condition of primeval brutes by teaching them the arts of civilisation. At last he steals fire from heaven for their use. By this he incurs the wrath of Zeus, who, having deposed his father Chronos, has become king of the gods. As a punishment Prometheus is condemned by Zeus to be chained to a rock in the Caucasus, with an eagle always feeding on his breast. But Prometheus knows the secret of a mysterious marriage which is destined in time to take place, and by the offspring of which Zeus in his turn is to be dethroned. Strong in his consciousness of this, he defies Zeus, who by the agency of Hermes tries in vain to wrest the secret from him. The persons of the drama, besides Prometheus, are Hephaestus, better known by his Latin name of Vulcan, Might and Force personified, Hermes the messenger of Heaven, and the wandering Io. The chorus consists of sea- nymphs, who sympathise with the suffering Prometheus. This drama is a sublime enigma. Aeschylus was conservative and deeply religious. How could he write a play the hero of which is a benefactor of man struggling against the tyranny of the king of the gods, and the sequel of which found a fit and congenial composer in Shelley, whose sentiment and manner the "Prometheus Bound" wonderfully anticipates and perhaps helped to form? Again, how could the Athenians, in an age when their piety had not yet given way to scepticism, have endured such dramatic treatment of the chief of the gods? It is almost as if a Mystery Play had been presented in the Middle Ages with Satan for the hero and the First Person of the Trinity in the character of an oppressor. Perhaps the position of Zeus in the drama as a usurper may, in some degree, have softened the religious effect.

* * * * *

Prometheus is brought in by the Spirits of Might and Force, Hephaestus accompanying them.

LINES 1-113.

SCENE: _The Caucasus_.


Unto earth's utmost boundary we have come, To Scythia's realm, th' untrodden wilderness. Hephaestus, now it is thy part to do The Almighty Father's bidding, and to bind This arch-deceiver to yon lowering cliff With bonds of everlasting adamant. Thy attribute, all-fabricating fire,

Specimens of Greek Tragedy - 3/44

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