Western drama began with the Greeks, and Aeschylus was its first great playwright. In

the opening of four class sessions, we will discuss the origins and conventions of Ancient

Greek theater. Then in the succeeding three classes we will consider the three connected

plays that comprise the Oresteia trilogy: the Agamemnon (his homecoming and murder),

The Libation Bearers (the revenge and intriguing psychology of his daughter Electra), and

finally The Eumenides (the trial of his son Orestes, the first courtroom drama in Western

literature). Most important we will try to answer the question, What is justice? There will

 be some opportunity for class members to read portions of the text in class.

Suggested Reading: Any good translation of the Oresteia trilogy: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides.

Dr. Somkin will be using the Richmond Lattimore translation in class.

After a long career in medicine, Steven Somkin returned to his two real loves, writing and the Ancient Greeks (his B.A. was in

philosophy with a particular emphasis on Plato). An award-winning playwright, he has written 15 full length and a dozen shorter

plays, many produced in New York City and the Berkshires, and two of which have been published. He is a co-founder and

current leader of The Greek Geeks, a group devoted to Ancient Greek theater, and he is a docent in paleontology at the American

Museum of Natural History.

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OLLI: the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College
Partners in education with Williams College, Bard College at Simon's Rock and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

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