Darkness from Light: The Beacon Fire in the Agamemnon

Classical Quarterly 36 (01):257- (1986)
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Abstract

The fire beacon in the opening scenes of the Agamemnon commands attention and creates the positive image of light from darkness. In the immediate context the light of the beacon relieves the watchman of his toil and brings joy to Argos. The image, however, is not totally positive. The fire signal announces both the fall of Troy and the return of Agamemnon to Clytemnestra. The negative aspect, furthermore, is emphasised at the opening — the watchman's joy at seeing the beacon gives way at line 36 to foreboding . For the original audience of 458 b.c. I suggest that this fire beacon proclaiming victory must have conveyed other negative overtones. In brief, it will have recalled to them vividly the signals used by the Persian commanders during the great invasion of 480 to announce Athens' capture to an expectant Persian court

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Citations of this work

Religion and Politics in Aeschylus' Orestela.A. M. Bowie - 1993 - Classical Quarterly 43 (01):10-.

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The fires of the Oresteia.Timothy Nolan Gantz - 1977 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 97:28-38.

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