About Information Sources in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Choephori
This paper investigates the topics of information and information sources in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Choephori. The emphasis placed by the author on these issues is clearly noticeable from the beginning of the Agamemnon in the famous scene of the relay of beacons. A comparison with the Odyssey (4.514-37) suggests that communication through beacons is an Aeschylean invention, one specifically adopted in this version of the myth of Agamemnon’s return. The beacon scene constitutes an initial opportunity for Aeschylus to engage in a large-scale reflection about information sources and their degree of reliability. Throughout the play, the beacon system is put in relation to news, verbal reports, ominous dreams, and rumours. The characters’ assessment of the reliability of different information sources plays an important role in their characterization, notably in the cases of Clytemnestra and Cassandra. Nevertheless, many differences can be found between the Agamemnon and the Choephori concerning the treatment of this topic. A comparative reading of the two plays allows Aeschylus’ reflection on the human condition emerge more vividly.
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