Greek Drama: Aeschylus and Sophocles

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Ashley Girard
Don Macon
ENGL 2332
16 September 2012
Greek Drama: Aeschylus and Sophocles
Famous playwrights Sophocles and Aeschylus have various similarities and differences in their writing styles. In The Oresteia: Agamemnon, Aeschylus focuses more on the seemingly cold blooded murder itself as opposed to the influence behind it. Although the reason for the killing of Agamemnon and Cassandra is stated, the author chooses to linger in the description of the act itself, making the murders in the play seem sadistic and cold blooded. In Oedipus the King, however, Sophocles' main focus is the opposite: sentimentalit. Although Sophocles still incorporates some of the gore that Aeschylus's play is famous for, he concentrates more so on the emotions and effects in the aftermath. Both dramatists use violence, murder and emotion in different doses that result in interesting, captivating plays.

In The Oresteia, Aeschylus' play is quite merciless in his description of murder. Clytaemnestra seeks to avenge her daughter Iphigeneia, who was killed as a sort of sacrifice by her own father (Clytaemnestra's husband) King Agamemnon in order to recieve victory for his country. Even before Cassandra the "seer" foretells the tragic future, Aeschylus uses the Chorus to constantly foreshadow the murder of Agamemnon, making the reader anxiously anticipate the moment when Clytaemnestra will strike. Clytaemnestra is driven by love for her deceased daughter and vengeance to kill her own husband with the aid of her lover Aegisthus, Agamemnon's cousin, making a love affair another element in the play. Cassandra was killed merely for knowing too much; she was a threat to Clytaemnestra. Throughout the trilogy, Orestes, Clytaemnestra's son, will avenge his father by killing both her and her lover. Thus it will become an endless cycle of murder where both vengeance and love are the driving forces to kill.

In Sophocles' play Oedipus the King, the events are unpredictable and absolutely...
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