Does the fact that he transformed Aeschylus to his own porpoises mean that he misunderstood Aeschylus? Cheers, Peter -----Original Message----- From: Carrol Cox [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2002 3:14 PM To: [log in to unmask] Subject: Re: My pickiness: a reply to Peter Peter Montgomery wrote: > > > > I in the mean time will continue to see Eliot's > use of the Erinyes as a model for people having > to face the consequences of their actions in all > his plays. But it also tells us something about Eliot (_and_ the plays) that he profoundly misunderstood the thrust of the Aeschylean drama. There is no question of conscience or facing consequences in Aeschylus. It is a political/religious, _not_ moral or psychological drama. There is nothing wrong with a poet radically misreading earlier poets; Bloom may have something in his theory of (whatever the theory is called). But there is also nothing wrong (in fact I think it is highly desirable) that we incorporate recognition of that misreading into our reading of the poet concerned. Athena and Apollo (though in quite different ways -- those differences also being important) are both emphatic that Orestes must _not_ be asked to "face the consequences of his action." Athena _persuades_ the Furies to accept the new order (among other things, Aeschylus is urging the Athenian aristocracy to accept its new place in the Democracy) -- in fact she uses some form of the word for persuasion about every other line. But there is never any doubt but what this is the Daughter of Zeus (with the thunderbolt at her disposal) who is doing the persuading. The modern slang (an offer one can't refuse) is not at all inappropriate to the scene. (One can read the Oresteia as a 'rewriting' of the Odyssey, and the Republic as Plato's attempt to rewrite and twist to aristocratic purposes the Oresteia. Someone someday will write a book on the sequence: Odyssey, Oresteia, Republic, Cantos.) (I would say more, but it has been nearly 50 years since I read the _Elder Statesman_, and I can't remember a single detail. I saw the _Cocktail Party_ in Washington D.C. back in '52 or '53, and wrote a paper on it in grad school -- but about all I can remember about it is that the psychiatrist wanted only a very tiny drop of water in his gin.) Carrol Ooops. Just went up stairs to check my copies. Obviously it was not 50 years ago I read the _Elder Statesman_ -- I must be thinking of _The Family Reunion_ as the book I read but don't remember. I own what looks to be the first (Faber & Faber) edition of _Statesman_, but don't know whether I ever read it. I also own the first American edition of _Confidential Clerk_, but I'm (almost) sure I never read that. It must not have sold very rapidly, because I bought it in November '55, and it is dated 1954. Someone mentioned his 'deserting' Hayward. When did that happen. He's still thanking Hayward in the front of _Statesman_ in November '58.