The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus
The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus
The idea of the unconditional moral and structural centrality of the The Libation Bearers in the Aeschylum trilogy goes along with the awareness that in this tragedy lies the peak of the dramatic force of a matricide that despite having been announced at the beginning of the tragedy, is achieved fiercely just before its epilogue.
And yet, the dramatic action moves forward, straight to the fulfilment of such a shocking and necessary gesture.
The decision of opening the drama with a scene where Clytemnestra has already been slaughterd and invokes and claims vengance for her ignoble and unfair ending -she does that using the words her charater will pronounce in the following tragedy, The Eumenides as if she was a εἴδωλον (simulacrum)- has two porpuses.
Firstly, showing immediately the horrific act, secondly, releasing the tragedy from this event. This choice is daring but liberating. Indeed, it allows the reconstruction of the drama, with a focus on other moments, less cruel, more powerful. Moments that could be considered expressions of pietas.
The religious devotion for the loved, murdered father’s grave is explained through an endless sequence of rituals that occupy a quite large space in the plot, which develops in its totality in front of Agamemnon’s grave. Him, who is both witness and architect of the event of the play. Clytemnestra’s death.
Even more vivid is the touching action by Orestes and Electra, the two brothers. Despite its shortness, it’s very intense and amplified to the extent that surrounds the Chorus itself and contaminate its identity, making each of its member an image-clone of Electra and Orestes. The two brothers almost appear like twins blend one into the other not only for their physical appearance, but also for the similarities in their thinking, feeling. Their empathy, their integrity as a whole, is almost a justification for their dreadful vengeance.
Notes on the translation.
From Aeschylus words in The Libation Bearers comes a warning sign of grudge, a wind that blows vengeance. This second tragedy from the Oresteia tells about Oresteis trip back to his homeland, exiled since Agamemnon’s death by Clytemnestra’s hands, who is now in charge together with her lover, Aegisthus. Two sections compose this tragedy: the first one takes place before Agamemnon’s grave where is shown both the grief of the two brothers, who finally reconnected to endure their father’s death, and the Chorus, who joins their grief.
The second section that takes place before the realm, where the two brothers plan their vengeance, their matricide.
Sorrow has its representation and its release in a ritual in memory of Agamemnon that looks a lot like a deep, enduring, almost wearying psychological meditation that anticipates and arranges Clytemnestra’s murder. The lines said by the Chorus, Electra and Orestes weave together a loving devotion toward the deceased, as well as the vengeance will.
For this reason the tragedy has the lexicon of the funeral ritual through which Oresteis and Electra endlessy evoke their father, torn away from them. In the play this is underlined by the word πατήρ which is a invocation, prayer, grief, and mostly, mentor for the children who hold a tearing grudge towards their mother.
This translation has the purpose of preserve that sign of grudge, the vengeance wind which has been blowing since 458 a.C, when the The Libation Bearers was staged for the first time.
Anna Maria Belardinelli and the Translation Workshop.
Coordination Anna Maria Belardinelli
Conception and Direction Adriano Evangelisti
Assistant Director Luigi Di Raimo
Costumes Cicci Mura
Coreographer Carolina Teresi
Organization Assistant Francesca Rossi
Music Chris Haigh
Phonic Gabriele Cavallari
Scenography made by students from the Artistic Lyceum Caravaggio in Rome, during the Work-Related Learning Experience. Tutors: Professor Francesco Mattei and Professor Filippo Paris
Alessia Edvige Attivissimo, Giovanni Chessari, Ketty Galiano, Barbara Mander, Giulia Porro, Tiziano Presutti e Mattia Spedicato
Master's degree in Ancient philology, literature and history
In collaboration with Luca Bruzzese e Katty Galiano
Gaetano Alfano, Alessia Edvige Attivissimo, Francesco Biagetti, Giovanni Chessari, Stefano Ferrani, Giorgia Giangrande, Elena Giuliano, Veronica Lauriola, Alice Lipari, Clara Lolletti, Elena Sofia Midena, Francesca Oglialoro, Federica Parisi, Ilaria Pera, Benedetta Petrini, Francesca Pimpinelli, Emanuela Prinzivalli, Davide Pro, Alessandra Salamone, Martina Russo, Domiziana Scarafoni, Orazio Schifoni, Ludovica M. Sciortino, Annaclara Sileo, Vincenzo Silvestro, Mattia Spedicato, Tommaso Suaria, Vanna Tino, Gabriele Veroi, Lorenzo Vitrone