Thyestes - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4th century BC - 65th century BC)

Literature of antiquity and the Middle Ages - Summary - 2019

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4th century BC - 65th century BC)

The heroes of this tragedy are two evil villagers from the city of Argos, Atrius and Fiesta. The son of this Atreus was the famous leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War, Agamemnon, the one whom his wife Klytemnestra killed, and her son Orest killed her for this (and Aeschylus wrote about this his "Oresta"). When the Greeks asked why there were such horrors, they replied: "For the sins of the ancestors." The sequence of these sins began very long ago.

The first sinner was Tantal, the mighty king of Asia Minor. The gods themselves descended from heaven to feast in his palace. But Tantalus turned out to be wicked: he did not believe that the gods were omniscient, and decided to test them with a terrible test. He slaughtered his son Pelop, cooked in a boiler and fed his meat to the table of the gods. The gods were upset: Pelopas were resurrected and healed, and Tantal'a was thrown into Hades and executed by "tantalum torment" - eternal hunger and thirst. He stands in the river under the shade of fruit branches, but can neither eat nor drink; When it stretches to the fruit, they slip away, when it jumps to the water, it dries.

The second sinner was Pelop the son of Tantalus. From Asia Minor, he came to Southern Greece and pulled it away from the evil king who stole the aliens to compete with him in the chariot run, and killed the defeated. Pelop defeated him by cunning: he bribed the royal incursion; he took out the bushing that held the wheel on the axis; the chariot collapsed, and the king perished. But PelOP wanted to conceal his deceit; instead of the reward, he attacked the royal sorceries into the sea, and the one, falling, cursed for treachery and Pelop and all his descendants.

In the third generation, sinners were Athra and Fiesta, the sons of Pelopa. They began to argue over the power over Argos. In the Peloponous herd was a golden ram - a sign of royal power; He was inherited by Atrey, but Fiesta seduced Atreya's wife and stole a ram. The dissonance began, Fiesta was expelled and lived poorly in poverty. The kingdom got to Atreus, but he did not have enough: he wanted to avenge his brother for the deceit of his wife. He remembered the Tantalum fetid feast: he decided to kill Fiesta's children and feed Fiesta with their meat. So he did; the gods were terrified, the sun itself turned from the heavenly path, not to see a terrible meal. About this he wrote his bloody tragedy of Seneca.

The premonition of horror begins from the very first lines. The shadow of Tantalus is from the underworld, it is driven by Erinney (in Latin - "Furia"): "You have slaughtered your son for food to the gods - now insist that your grandson will slaughter the sons of another grandson for food to his father!" - "Let me go - it's better to tolerate torture than torture! "-" Do your own thing: let sinners in the earth rejoice in their executions, let them know that they are terrible on the earth than hell! "An impersonal chorus sings about the sins of Tantalus - now they are multiplied by his offspring.

An Atria thought: "Nothing is a king who is slow to take revenge!" Why am I not yet a criminal? The evil is waiting for the brother and brother, who will first stretch out his hand to him? "" Kill the fiesta, "says the advisor. "No: death is mercy: I have conceived more." - "What did you think you would destroy a fiesta?" - "The most fiesta!" - "What do you entice him into captivity?" - "I will talk about the kingdom: for the sake of power it will come." - "Do not be afraid of God's punishment?" - "Let the house of Peolops collapse on me - even if it collapsed on my brother". The choir, looking at it, sings: no, the king is not the one who is rich and mighty! the true king is the one who is alien to passions and fears, who are firm and alive in spirit.

Fiesta learned this in exile, but not to the end. He put down the trouble, but did not drop the burdens. He knows: "There is no kingdom more than without kingdoms to be content! Malice lives in palaces - not in huts "; but in his heart his fear. "What are you afraid of?" Asks the son. "Totally," answers the fiesta and still goes to Atreus. Atri comes out to meet. "I am glad to see my brother! - he says (and this is true). "Be the king with me!" "Leave me in nothingness," replies Fiesta, "Are you giving up happiness?" - "Yes, for I know: happiness is changeable." - "Do not deprive me of the glory to share power!" - says Atrey. - To be in power - chance, to give power - valor ". And Fiesta gives way. The choir is pleased with the world, but reminds us: joy is not long.

Mischief, as usual, tells the messenger. There is a dark grove dedicated to Pelop, where the trunks are moaning and ghosts roam; There at the altar, like sacrificial animals, Ariya slaughtered fiesta sons - one swept his head, another cut his throat, the third pierced his heart. The earth trembled, the palace shook, the black star slipped from heaven. "Oh, horror!" - exclaims the choir. No horror in front: the king decomposes the body, the meat boils in the boiler and sits on the spit, the fire does not want to burn under them, the smoke darkens over the house with a black cloud. The fiesta, who does not know the trouble, speaks with his brother and watches that the piece does not go to his throat, that his hair grows up in the air. The choir looks to the sky, where the sun turns halfway, the darkness rises from the horizon - is it not the end of the world, does the world break in the new Chaos?

The atrium is triumphant: "It's a pity that darkness and that the gods do not see my business - but I'm pretty sure that he will see Fiesta!" Here he drinks the last cup, where the blood is mixed with wine by his sons. It's time! "The cut flowers of the Fiesta's children make the dish. "Do you know the sons?" - "I'll find my brother! Oh, let me just bury their bodies! "-" They are already buried in you ". - "Where is my sword, so that I pierce myself?" - "Proni - and pierce your sons at your place." - "Why are sons guilty?" - "Because you are their father." - "Where is the measure evil?" - "There is a measure of a crime - there is no measure of retaliation!" - "Get down, gods, with lightning: let me become a funeral feast for my sons!" - "You deceived my wife - you yourself would first kill my children , if you did not think that they are yours. " - "God's avenger, be a fine Atreus." - "And to you eternal punishment - your sons are in you!"

The choir silent.