The Political Theorizing of Aeschylus's Persians

Interpretation 43 (3):383-402 (2017)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
Aeschylus’ Persians dramatically represents the Athenian victory at Salamis from the perspective of the Persian royal court at Susa. Although the play is in some sense a patriotic celebration of the Athenian victory and its democracy, nonetheless in both form and function it is a tragedy that generates sympathy for the suffering of its main character, Xerxes. Although scholars have argued whether the play is primarily patriotic or tragic, I argue that the play purposively provides both patriotic and tragic elements in such a fashion as to invite its audience to reflect on the ramifications of Persia’s failed empire for Athens’ own nascent Delian League, which even in 472 was showing imperialistic tendencies. I argue that Aeschylus’ political theory in Persians is aporetic in the sense that its careful balance between patriotism and anti-imperialism generates an impasse which members of the play’s audience are thus given the occasion to puzzle over.
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
LOCTPT
Upload history
Archival date: 2021-04-08
View other versions
Added to PP index
2017-12-16

Total views
8 ( #59,458 of 58,376 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #51,638 of 58,376 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.