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Background

Background

Chapter:
(p.141) Chapter IV Background
Source:
Aeschylus' Supplices
Author(s):
A.F. Garvie
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781904675365.003.0004

This chapter examines various attempts to establish the date of the Supplices based on its supposed allusions to contemporary events, as well as the argument from the similar praises of Argos in the Supplices and the Eumenides that both plays must have been written in the same period. It begins by considering Aeschylus's treatment of Argos as a constitutional monarchy and whether to grant asylum to the Danaids, along with the relationship between tragedy and democratic civic ideology at Athens. It rejects the notion that Aeschylus was using the Supplices as a means to express his own political views, claiming that the reason for Argos's strange (and anachronistic) constitution is purely dramatic. It also suggests that Aeschylus is writing for an audience that regarded democracy as the ideal form of constitution. The chapter concludes by highlighting a double tragedy in the Supplices: granting asylum to the Danaids may be disastrous for both Pelasgus and his people.

Keywords:   democracy, Supplices, Argos, Eumenides, plays, Aeschylus, asylum, Danaids, tragedy, Athens

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