Aeschylus’ Beliefs of the Proper Relationship with the Gods

Topics: Aeschylus, God, Dionysus Pages: 2 (703 words) Published: August 24, 2013
Plenty of stories have been written of mortals that disrespect the Gods, accidentally or purposely, and incur their wrath. What is the proper relationship between Gods and humans? This is a question that goes back to the ancient Greek and Roman age, probably farther. An ancient playwright by the name of Aeschylus would argue the Gods are to be admired and their wisdom is to be heeded. Aeschylus was a religious man and his work speaks that in volumes. In a paper written by David Grene, the author speaks of Aeschylus’ plays primarily being concerned with the “greatest religious and human issues”. This expresses Aeschylus’s priorities in his writing. He writes about these issues because they not only make a good story but because he holds religion in such high esteem, which is not uncommon for ancient Greece. As the story goes, Aeschylus had fallen asleep in a grape orchard. While he was sleeping Dionysus came to him in a dream and told him he was to start writing plays. When he woke up, he started writing plays the very next day. Regardless of the veracity of the story, Aeschylus himself was said to have told the story. So from his beginnings he has shown that the Gods should be obeyed without question. Even if the reader believes that Aeschylus made up the story, by telling the story as he does he gives credit to the Gods for pushing him in the direction of play writing. This philosophy of Aeschylus lies in his writing. He conveys his feeling of the Gods through his characters and how they react to situations. In the play Agamemnon, there are many instances where this becomes apparent. He speaks through the chorus stating, “Ah woe, ah Zeus! from Zeus all things befall--/ /Zeus the high cause and finisher of all!-- / Lord of our mortal state, by him are willed/ All things, by him fulfilled!”. This is one of many examples throughout the play where Aeschylus holds true to the theme that the God Zeus is all powerful. Another example in the play is of Aeschylus...

Bibliography: Aeschylus, "The Seven Against Thebes." Massachusetts Institute of Technology, accessed July 6, 2013, classics.mit.edu/Aeschylus/seventhebes.pl.txt.
Aeschylus. "Agamemnon." In Elegant Wisdom: Classical Foundations. Boston: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2010. 3 - 31.
Grene, David. "Aeschylus: Myth, Religion, and Poetry." History of Religions 23, no. 1 (1983): 1-17.
Potter, Robert. Aeschylus. New York: Harper and Brother Publisher, 1860
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