Imágenes de páginas

upon us!


warn fruitlessly, or it would cease to be nothing to remind us of any want on our destiny. Yet still, with all this prepara- own parts, or to suggest that our criticisms tion, how startlingly does the apparition of might arise from ignorance of the poet's Clytæmnestra and her fearless avowal come real design. And yet, certainly, such

Agamemnon's death, and all would be the case ; the critic of the Agaconnected with it, now stand out in lue memnon, as an isolated play, would unproportion; so balanced, indeod, that the doubtedly lay his finger on those little chorus is almost at a loss to decide-for a points which are introduced to give conmoment imposed upon by the sophistry of nection to the whole trilogy, with the assurevil passions (v. 1560, seq.) until Ægisthus ance that here was a deficiency, and the comes in, and his hateful presence decides satisfaction of thinking that it was on the them. But are matters to stay here? Can poet's side and not on his own.* it be supposed that Clytæmnestra has really, Whatever our expectations of a catastroas she endeavours to flatter herself, laid the phe may have been, the nature of that spirit of domestic strife, and shed the last which takes place, and the proclamation of blood that is to flow? A modern plot Clytæmnestra by herself as the Até of the would go no further. But the mind is re- family in human shape (Harraséuevos de yuvaixò volted at this. Whatever plausibilities | νεκρού τουδ' ο παλαιός δριμύς αλαστωρ, κ.

7. A., there were against Agamemnon are anni- v. 1498,) is of such a nature that we hilated by the monstrous character of her left full of horror and perplexity morally crime ; and the scale of Destiny is clearly revolting—if this were all. The emotions turning At this conjuncture there are are indeed stirred up; but it is to all aptwo or three seemingly trifling incidents pearance only a witch's caldron, 'Double, artfully thrown in. Ægisthus speaks of double, toil and trouble. No problem in his being expelled while in his infancy, to human nature is solved, nor anything done, be brought back by Justice in his manhood; so far, towards “purifying the passions,' and the prophecy of Cassandra and the modifying, disciplining, or in any way turnspeech of the chorus carrying us on to the ing them to use. So that the moral effects return of another child, similarly spirited of the single play, as above noticed, would away. In the more modern scheme, this have been bad, But there are the links would all have been lost; and more than which join it to the Choëphoræ, sufficient this, for the development of Clytæmnestra's to suggest the turn which the plot is about character would have been lost too, unless to take, and to satisfy us that the action is the moral of the play had been the triumph tending towards a real end. In the Choëof evil : but the Greeks had too fine a sense phoræ we find the adulterous pair in fullof harmony to end with such a discord as blown outward prosperity; but the avenger this; and the whole conclusion of the play is at the door-Orestes ha been distinctly supplies the links which unite it to that called to the duty of vengeance by the gods ; which follows : all is subservient to the his commission is to slay the slayers; and grand design; and, wonderful as the Aga. this is confirmed by Clytæmnestra's dream memuon is in itself, it is only to be appre- of evil augury. Still the same care is takciated—indeed it is only to be rightly un- en, as in the former plays, to convey, derstood--in connection with what ensues

. though indistinctly, an assurance that the One can scarcely read the play without be end is not near : there are marked indicaing taught, by this one lesson, to confess tions throughout that Orestes finds himself how imperfectly those remains of antiquity ill at ease. His whole conduct discloses, it can be appreciated, which have come down -vaguely, of course, but it does disclose it to us in any degree imperfect; and how -and communicates to us his own inward much of their excellence may consist in apprehensions. He is, as it were, dragged portions which one would now scarcely into the arena, and worked up by the Chomiss if they were absent. Suppose that of rus, by Electra, and finally by the oracular the Orestean trilogy the Agamemnon only voice of the (probably) unseen Pylades, the had been extant, as the Prometheus, or the representative of the Delphic oracle,t until Seven against Thebes are of their trilogies : he does the deed; and when it is done, he we should still have bad all the delineation still remembers that she was his mother; of character, all the mastery over feeling his disquiet shows itself in his laboured atand passion, all the power of language, and tempts at self-justification ; until finally we the essential poetry, lyric and dramatic, of see that * this way madness lies,' and the piece.; in short, all the materials for the whole : and though we might have

This may suggest to us that, if we seck, we complained of something apparently inarti- shall probably find a meaning in many things which ficial, we should probably have discovered + See Mueller.

the dread goddesses of wrath, the Erinnyes, I the third play, been chased to Delphi ; but appear. We say deliberately appear : for he finds iliere a respite; the religio loci not even Hermann can persuade us that overpowers his pursuers, and they fall into they are invisible. It is to no purpose to a slumber.* Meanwhile, under the direcargue that the chorus does not see them : tion of his protector Apollo, Orestes esthe question is not whether they appear to capes to Athens, where Athena institutes Orestes alone or not; but whether they the court of Mars' Hill, presiding herself, really and externally appear to him, or are while Apollo appears in the double capacithe phantoms of his crazed brain. If they ty of witness and advocate for Orestes; and really appear to him—that is, if they are avows that the deed was done at his bidthere in actual, though not bodily presence, ding, and consequently by the authority of then the spectators must have cognizance Zeus himself—for of them. We appeal to the closet-scene in Hamlet, where the spectators see


οιπώποτ' είπον μαντικίσιν εν Θρόνους apparition of the ghost, and hear his voice,

και μη 'κελεισε Ζεύς Ολυμπίων πατήρ. while the Queen remarks

Thus, finally, the difficulty is solved, • This is the very coinage of your brain :

which must otherwise have arisen afresh on This bodiless creation ecstasy

every new act of mutual vengeance. The Is very cunning in.'

divine law is at length expounded, the con

fusion of right and wrong unravelled, and Æschylus is now preparing the way for the the perplexity removed, which had grown next play, in which no one doubts their ap- out of the conflicting elements of the plot. pearance; and, besides, Æschylus was a Orestes is at last acquitted and cleansed devout believer in the existence, a devout from the stains of blood; yet not without worshipper of the divinity of these Beings: such penance as atones for the violence

- which, by the bye, gives him an incalcu- done io natural feeling by his revenge. lable advantage in these plays over Shak. Without this penance,--without the diffispeare with his witches in Macbeth. To culty in appeasing the Furies,—the lesson the chorus, who, in the dialogue, are, as it would not be perfect. But, as the case were, the impersonation of very common stands, the process of purification and the sense,

* and who thus see only with the na- restoration of peace among the actors in the tural eye, these goddesses are of course drama, is a type of the true xúbapois tallrpátwv, invisible. But the spectator's eye is sup- which, according to the definition of Arisposed to be purged, and his ear open totle, is wrought by the trilogy, taken as a Topijo čupaour day wpúverai) to admit things unseen whole. In the first play the feelings are and unheard except to the initiated. And mored in pity for Agamemnon and horror when such is supposed to be the character of Clytæmnestra ; and this gives our symof the chorus, as it is in the sub-choir of pathies to Orestes in the second ; but yet Areopagites in the Eumenides, they are

not wholly so; for whatever were the visible to these also. But if a ring of the deserts of the mother, she was the mother populace of Attica were represented as still. Thus the emotions are stirred up in grouped round Mars' Hill, we would ven- conflict, and are thrown into the highest iure to say that they saw nothing of the state of commotion and ferment, so that we Nameless Goddesses.

are further than ever from seeing the end. Here ends the second regular tragedy, But the end is at band : this very conflict technically so called ; and in both there has and fermentation is the moving of the been excited interest, perplexity, and un- chaos, from which a new state of order is satisfied emotion : this has been first on

to be evolved. And as a just analogy is a one side, and then on the other; and it has sound and sober argument, let us take this accumulated in the second play; for we metaphor which has come in our way, and have now the gods taking their sides, and examine it. What is the result of fermentaembroiling the fray. And the link of the tion but to throw off impurities, and then, appearance of the Furies brings us to the but not until then, to restore tranquillity; third drama, which is, strictly speaking, not not the same, but a very different tranquillity a tragedy at all, according to our idea of from that turbid state of stagnation which one ; but it is exactly by this peculiarity went before ? It tranquillizes, but by that it becomes a perfect finish to those which are so.

• In vindicating the personality of the Furies, The victim has, at the commencement of we need not shut our cyes to the moral cloaked

under this allegory. See the remarkable passage in Aristotle's + Ει γάρ δικαίως έπαθαν τι, δικαίως πέπoνθεν, αλλ' Problems, xix. 43.

lows oix úno coi.-Aristot. Rhetor., ii. 23, 3. 25


clarifying. And thus, to come back again, indeed, perhaps, at the root of it) is a disinto Aristotle, the passions or feelings are clination to look so deep into the causes purified, that is, clarified and reconciled, and secret springs of events, as is necessary and so chastened and soothed into calm- for an elaborate and complicated plot ; for ness in the third play: the perplexity which in the observation of contemporary events man could not unravel is unravelled, and these are in general not traceable; whereas the

ways of Heaven justified to man. Our the study of character lies more on the pity and terror, after having been worked surface, and consequently becomes popular. up into a ferment, are not left to become The depth of Æschylus plots, the intensity flat without purification (as in the King of mind demanded by him of his hearers, dipus), but are brought into a new and was fitted for those who fought at Marathon : better state, the soul having been enlight- but to young Athens, a generation of punier ened on those high subjects of which it thewes and sinews, and enervated by an might otherwise have known nothing. education in the schools of the Sophists, it Thus tranquillity returns; but how differ- was oppressive. As the American Indians ent! No longer the slumber of sluggish would say, his medicine was too great for ignorance, which is apathy; but the holy them. They could with difficulty swallow calm of high kuowledge and deep faith, the his words ; far less could they embrace the reasonable service of a disciplined and en- whole scope of his design ;-only they had lightened mind. And thus the muse be- a faint vision of its meaning, and a suspicion comes not a mere handmaid to the excite- that it was aristocratic; a cry, we know, ment of morbid emotion, but a powerful nearly as dangerous at Athens as in revoluagent in the formation of high moral and tionary France. Later poets took the bint, religious character.

and as Athens would not become heroic, It has appeared that the terms of the they yielded to the jealousy of their day Aristotelic definition, as given above, do conpomparikov aőr' i'opwr) and dwarfed and stuntnot apply to a tragedy, strictly so called ; ed their conceptions to meet it: content to but that, on the other hand, they apply with hold a mirror up to nature, and reflect men remarkable exactness to the one extant as they were seen and could be understood, specimen of the entire group, of which one rather than to draw the curtain from before tragedy only formed a part. The trilogy the wizard's glass, and body forth forms of and the definition stand to each other in the beauty and power which had no prototype relation of lock and key. And this entitles among the lookers-on. In those dramas in us to conclude not only that the trilogy, which which, and which alone, so strikingly ful η γυνή τε μοι, χώ δούλος οίδεν ήττον, fils the conditions of the definition, is as it

χώ δεσπότης, χή παρθένος, χή γρας were an authentic example to illustrate its all availed themselves of the full Athenian real meaning; but further, that this which liberty of speech, there must have been a the great critic has embodied was the necessary tendency to reduce the tone of strictly true theory of the tragic drama, the man to that of the slave, the girl, and however far dramatists may have wandered the old woman ;* just as, when four horses from it in practice.

draw one carriage, the speed of the slowest Nor is it difficult to account for their must regulate the team. wandering. For, not to rest on the scarcity

In short, the scheme of the trilogy was of plots which would admit of such band too gigantic—too Æschylean-to continue ling, and the multiplied difficulties in hand popular : it taxed the powers of the poet ling them so as that there should be one too heavily; and it ensured him too unconsistent whole, containing a beginning, a grateful a return for his labour. But in the middle, and an end—while at the same treatment of Æschylus like the bow of time each of these component parts should Ulysses in the hand of its rightful lordbe so organized and complete as to form a we see what it could be, and was. With whole by itself, (which is yet a considera- the Orestean trilogy before us we can form tion of most practical and serious import- an idea, not insufficient, of the capabilities ance)- there are other reasons. The

pro of the Greek tragedy. Are we then to gress of dramatic poetry indicates a ten- conclude that the poel who conceived and dency to bring down the heroes from their executed this work, left it as a solitary stilts, to reduce their tumid bulk (as Eu

* Of course it may be objected, that this is an ripides is ludicrously made to say in the argument only from the exaggerations and false

Frogs”), by vegetable diet and antiphlo- hoods of the old comedy: but the old comedy was a gistic treatment—to prune and fine down lie with a great truth at the bottom of it: and we everything to the standard of life. And in the general likeness, the character, as preserved in

are not ashamed to say that we place full confidence closely connected with this tendency (lying the caricature of Aristophanes.

specimen of his skill, as if by way of empty end of the play, and the announcement by challenge to his rivals ?

Antigoné and the semi-chorus which takes
Μη τεχνησάμενος μηδ' άλλο τι τεχνήσαιτο,


of their determination to bury it. δε κείνον τελαμώνα και εγκάθετο τέχνης

Again, Hermann remarks that, in the Seven, The supposition is in itself all but inad only Eteocles and Polynices are dead, and the missible ; and it is fully refuted, if by no- city, so far, safe : so that the event, with the thing else, by the record of the Lycurgia. told: and this latter point, according to Plu

fate of the six remaining chiefs, is yet to be But we have no time to go beyond the extant plays: among them, however, it will tarch, was the subject of the Eleusinians be well, by way of conclusion to our inves- (Fragm. 48), which he (and upon second tigation, to inquire whether we detect any

thoughts Welcker also) places third in his traces of connection with others which are trilogy: but here we suffer from the embarras lost. The Persians we give up in despair, furnished us for the third play, which are

des richesses : here are two separate plots for reasons formerly mentioned. But the Danaides (Fragm. 37, 38, 39, Dind.) may Let any one read over The Antigoné of

undoubtedly incompatible with each other. be reasonably reckoned as belonging to the Supplianis: and as one of the frag- Sophocles, and The Suppliants of Euriments quotes some words from a hymeneal pides for these, making allowance for difchant, and another sets forth the universal ference of handling, furnish the two plots sway of love, it may be concluded that the in question--and judge whether it would subject was their fatal marriage with the be possible to combine, in one Greek trasons of Ægyptus, and the splendid false- gedy, the burial of Polynices and its results hood of Hypermnestra ; and that it was at Thebes, and the obsequies of the allied probably wound up by Aphrodité vindicat- chiefs at Eleusis. Doubtless either one or ing her. This would make it the conclud- the other plot might have formed a sequel ing play: and as we have no account of to that of the Seven; but the subject of the any dilogies, or pairs of tragedies connected Seven is actually so handled as to exclude together, with a third at large by way of any sequel which does not strictly pertain outrigger (like the ocipaios infos in the an

to the family of Edipus : the farewell cient chariots,) it is not an improbable con- speeches at the end of this play cannot be jecture that the Egyp.ians, of which nothing reconciled with the supposition that the but the name remains, made up the trilogy:

next is to turn on the fortunes of the Six but whether the Ægyptians or the Suppli- Chiefs, or anything except the burial of ants came first, it is not for us to say: we

Polynices. leave this point to be settled by Welcker,

Lastly, we come to the Prometheus ; who has written two books on these sub and, looking at Dindorf's edition, we find jects, and advocated both sides ;* only re

the Prometheus Bound extant, and the marking that Hermann and Gruppe place names and fragments of a Prometheus the Suppliants first.

Freed, and a Prometheus suppópos (fireAs to the Seven against Thebes, doc- bringer), or rupracís (fire-lighter). A sators do agree with an unanimity which tyric play, called Prometheus ropa acús, beis quite wonderful, that it is the second longed to the same tetralogy with the Perplay of a connected trilogy; arguing from sians; so that we have no right to take this the hooks and eyes in it, the references to into consideration : to this must be referred things which have gone before, and the Fragm. 175, where the making of a torch preparation for something to come after. is described, and 176, wherein a satyr, igOf the former description is the reference norant as yet of the properties of fire, is by Eteocles to his ominous dream about represented as in danger of singeing his the division of the heritage (v. 710 seq.) beard by embracing it. But, if we exawhich would, probably, have been more

mine the authorities, we shall not find that explicit if it had not been mentioned be the editor is at all justified in identifying fore; to which Hermann adds (vv. 571- the roppópos with the supxac vs. The names are 575) the abuse heaped upon Tydeus, which both mentioned by different authors and contains so many particular allusions that different fragments quoted from them-of it must refer to something also before men- which those which are referred to the fupracús tioned. Of the latter, we have the prohi- bave a decidedly satyric complexion, which bition to bury the corpse of Polynices, at the cannot be said of anything that we know of

the fuppópos. But, says Dindorf, IIvpracús Die Eschyl. Trilogie, p. 390 ; Die Griechi- parùm aptum. Prometheo nomen : aptissischen Tragoedien, vol

. i., p. 48. Hermann, Opusc. mum nuppupos.' What? was there nothing vol. ii., p. 319, scq.: Gruppe, Ariadne, p. 72, seq.

in connection with Prometheus of the na

ture of a rupxaiá ?* Have we never heard ; quite another strain to sing from that which of a Feast of Lamps, a torch-race in honour they once sang in honour of his nuptials of Prometheus, as god of fire and the arts with their sister Hesioné. This seems to therewith connecied, in conjunction with make it certain that the same ocean nymphs Hephaestus and Athena ?t This name is formed the chorus in the first and second assuredly not at variance with the worship plays, and that the first contained-and, if of Prometheus--not with the old Attic na- so, probably ended with—his marriage to tional religion—not, finally, with the frag- Hesioné. And again, the whole plot of ment which describes the making of an the extant play implies that the noble theft oakum torch. But it is wholly at variance of fire was the subject of the foregoing one. with the other name :--for the fuppópos Oeis, Indeed, under any other supposition we Teriv Ipojendeús, was and could be none else shall be at a loss to explain the slight way than the Giver of Fire; and little as we in which this is mentioned, and assumed as know of this play, the fragment which Gel- known, in the second play. The gift of lius quotes, with the remark that it was fire was emphatically the merit (or demerit) almost word for word the same with a of Prometheus; by the ancients all the passage in the Ino of Euripides, may there arts are traced to the possession of this fore fairly be presumed to be tragic (Fragm. rúvtexvov tūp; yet there is not much stress 174). _To the same play we may probably laid upon it, and very little description refer Fragment 362, which alludes to Pan- given of it. All this points to a former dora. But it is at least questionable whe- play, in which the subject has been more ther Fragment 289, which expresses some elaborately treated and prominently set one's dread of dying a silly night.moth’s forth-whereas less notice, it may be, had death, should not rather be connected with been taken of the other secondary gifts Fragment 176, as belonging to the repraeús. which are detailed along with that of fire

Enough has been said to disprove the in the Prometheus Bound. supposed identity between the two. And We will now conclude with a brief if there ever was a case in which it was analysis of the argument for the trilogy, justifiable to assume positively the existence which Welcker has drawn out from these of a connected trilogy, where only one and other data, in the work called “The play is extant, it is this—where the three Trilogy Prometheus,' named fifth at the names, The Fire-Bringer, The Bound, and head of this article ; of course without

The Freed, combine to tell the whole tale pledging ourselves to all his details (some of the Titan's fortunes, as we have them of which he has indeed since recanted), but narrated in the mythological writers. The certainly considering it an able, and, in its names themselves are sufficient to show most important features, a highly probable (as soon as we have rid ourselves of the piece of constructive criticism. fancy that The Fire-Bringer was a satyric The first play, according to this theory, play) that they form a harmonious whole ; opens at the very forge of Hephaestus, the the theme of the first being the theft of fire Lemnian volcano Moschylus; from whence by Prometheus ; that of the second the Prometheus steals the spark, and afterwards living death to which he was doomed; and parleys with the fire-god on the tyranny of the third representing his reconciliation Zeus, the state of the human race, the arts with Zeus, and his liberation.

in esse and in posse, and, in short, things in The chorus of the extant play (v. 555) general; while say that now in his misfortunes they have

the smith stands with his hammer, thus, + Cf. Eur. Plane, v. 1121. -δεζια δε λαμπάδα

The while his iron does on the anvil cool, Τιτάν Προμηθεύς έφερεν, ας πρόσων πόλιν.

Swallowing Sophocles wrote a tragedy, called Nauplius aupkasus, of which the plot was, that Nauplius, during the the speculations of the crafty Titan, who, storm which the Greeks encountered on the southern after having thus gained his object, returns medes by lighting torches as signals to draw their to solemnise his nuptials; and with this

pavessels on the fatal headland of Caphareus. Senec., geant the first play, Prometheus, the FireAgam. 566,

Bringer, concludes—so as to form the highClarum manu Lumen nefandâ vertice e summo efferens,

est contrast with his position at the opening In saxa duxit perfidâ classem face.'

of the second, or Prometheus Bound. Hygin. cxvi.

Tanquam auxilium eis afferret, facem ardentem eo loco extulit, quo saxa acuta, et second refers us back to such a first play

If we are persuaded to believe that this locus periculosissimus erat.'-See Griechische Tragoedien, i. p. 181, seq.

as has been sketched out, it carries us for+ See Dr. Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities, Art. ward with far more certainty to the third, Λαμπαδηδρομία.

Prometheus Freed. The coming events have

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