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The sins of the parents fall on the children

After opening the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama 2016 with a comedy, the festival presents two tragedies by Aeschylus. Agamemnon and The Libation Bearers – the first two tragedies within the trilogy.

The performance is given by the German theatre group Theater Krefeld Monchengladbach and is translated by Peter Stein and directed by Matthias Gehrt.

Agamemnon, the victor of the ten-year war of Troy, returns home to Argos with Cassandra, the daughter of Priam, the king of Troy – who he plans to treat as his wife.

There his wife Clytemnestra, mother of Orestes and Aegisthus’ lover (who is Agamemnon’s cousin), welcomes him as a victor and murders him shortly after he has entered the palace, as revenge for the sacrifice of their daughter Iphigenia. At the same time, she assists Aegisthus to become King of Argos.

Cassandra, who has previously been cursed by the god Apollo (for refusing to be swayed by his courting) to foretell the future but not be believed by anybody, is suddenly possessed by a vengeful Apollo and is made to enter the room, knowing that she too will die by Clytemnestra’s hand. And so the killings continue.

In the second part of the trilogy, The Libation Bearers, the exiled Orestes returns home to take revenge for his father’s murder. He comes up with a plan, together with help of his cousin Pylades and sister Electra, to assassinate his mother and stepfather in return for murdering Agamemnon.

Orestes and his cousin pretend to be travelers, are admitted into the palace and lie to Clytemnestra, saying her son Orestes is dead. She summons Aegisthus and just like that the two young men kill him in cold blood. Clytemnestra realises the truth and believes that her own death is imminent. And so it is. However, the act of matricide means that Orestes is now pursued by the Furies – also known as the infernal goddesses who obtain revenge when proper laws are not followed – who wish to punish him for murdering his own mother. The tragedy ends with the chorus chanting that the cycle of violence did not stop with Clytemnestra’s murder, but will continue with the third and final part of the tragedy.

The performance will have English and Greek subtitles.

Agamemnon and The Libation Bearers
Performance of tragedies by Aeschylus. July 7. Makarios III Amphitheatre, Nicosia. 9pm. €10/5. Tel: 70-002414

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