Aeschylus (525 bce - 456 bce)
Famous Works Include: The Persians, Seven Against Thebes, The Suppliants, The Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides), and Prometheus Bound.
He is considered the father of the tragic genre as well as the first playwright to present some of his work as a trilogy. Aeschylus was also the first to add a second actor -- previously only one actor had interacted with the chorus at a time.
Today, only seven of an estimated seventy to ninety plays have survived. Much of what is still available to us is from Aeschylus' stint as a competitive playwright, during which he wrote thirteen prize-winning plays for the City Dionysia theater festival in ancient Greece. Some of Aeschylus' material is semi-autobiographical; his play The Persians is based in part on his experience in the Greek army during the Persian War. Ironically, Aeschylus was more well known in his day for his soldiering than his writing. While his plays were popular at the urban theater festivals, both he and his brother were famous for their roles in the defense of Athens against the Persian kings, Darius I and Xerxes, at Marathon and, later, Salamis.
Hope you've enjoyed this blast from the past from a 2008 edition of the WCWC (Writing Center Water Closet, a monthly newsletter produced by the CWC)!
- Anna H.