Agamemnon In Plain and Simple English (Digital Download)
Drama Beyond The Ages!

Revenge! Passion! Betrayal! Dive deep into the whirlwind of Aeschylus' "Agamemnon," where thrilling tales unfold. But, let's face it, sometimes ancient Greek can seem like it's written in, well, Greek. Want to experience the drama without the linguistic hurdle?

For everyone who's ever felt bogged down by ancient prose, BookCaps comes to your rescue. Unveiling a contemporary translation, we make "Agamemnon" more relatable and gripping than ever. Explore the classic anew, while also having the original text side by side, bridging the ancient and the modern seamlessly. Dive in and witness the drama of the ages come alive!



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Excerpt From Agamemnon In Plain and Simple English

Modern Version  

The Scene represents a space in front of the Palace of Agamemnon in

Argos, with an Altar of Zeus in the centre and many other altars at the

sides. On a high terrace of the roof stands a  WATCHMAN.  It is night .



For a whole empty year I have prayed

For God to give us some relief, leaning here

Like a watchdog above the halls of the Atreidae;

I have certainly become familiar

With the patterns of the stars, and the ones

Which appear to show summer and winter,

The bright ones which gleam with the fire of heaven.

And still I'm waiting for the sign, the flame of the beacon

Which would tell us that Troy

Had been captured. A woman in love

With a man is just as faithful!

And when I go back to bed, soaked

With the dew, I stumble in the dark,

And I have no dreams or sleep,

I'm always surrounded by fear that if

I fall too fast asleep I won't wake up again;

If I decide to sing or hum a tune

To stop myself sleeping, the music soon

Changes to sighing for the untold story

Of this house, which is not ruled as well as it used to be.

However, maybe God will give us some rest, by

Showing us the flaming beacons in the night.



Here is the light which sets fire to the dark, which

Shows the dawn when it dances on the earth of Greece,

Showing this great news! Greetings! Hello there, inside!

Hello! Go and tell Agamemnon's Queen

To rise up like the dawn, and for her and her women

To sing a song of triumphant in answer to this happy flame,

If it really is true that the city of Troy

Has fallen, as those flaming beacons tell us.

I myself will dance before

Anyone else; for I think this is a lucky day

For both myself and my master.


Whether things are good or bad, I shall once again

Shake the hand of my dear Lord, when he comes back! I won't say anything

More than that. I feel as though my tongue

Is tied. But these stone walls, if they could speak,

They know, what a great story they could tell.

As for me, I can speak to anyone who knows it,

If anyone else asks me, I know nothing.



It is ten years since the justified enemies of Troy,

The strong Atreidae,

Menelaus and also Agamemnon rose up,

Two thrones, two kingdoms, joined by God;

And a thousand Greek ships sailed

Over the sea to right a wrong;

And the storm of battle cried all round them,

As the vultures cry

When their nest is robbed, and they fly up

In lonely agony, circling wide,

With their great wings like oars in the empty sky,

For they have lost their task of keeping

Watch over their vulture babies while they sleep.

But there is someone who hears high above,

Pan or Zeus, some lost Apollo–

They hear that keen suffering cry of the birds,

Of the stranger in the sky of God who has been wronged;

And they send down their anger

To punish those who have broken the law.


This is how Zeus, who watches over his friends,

Who always triumphs, sent the two Atreidae

After Paris, who had gone to search

For the one whom many men loved;

Yes, he sent him dances

 To celebrate his wedding,

Terrible wrestling and broken limbs

For Greeks and Trojans, crushed down to earth,

The dust awash with blood and the spears broken.

He knows that what has happened has happened,

And the future is coming close behind;

He is desperate to find God,

He piles up his offerings, he makes his pyre

With flames below and oil on top,

And he cries, but his emotions will never

Inspire the God who rejects his sacrifice.


We saw them go to take revenge that day,

And they left us here, for we are old

And weak; and these sticks support

A strength not much more than that of a child.

For the energy that drives a young man's hand

And the bravery of older men, they have all left this place.

And the old man, while the dead leaves blow

And he walks on three feet with his staff,

He goes, weak as a baby and alone,

Like a leftover dream still present in daylight.


But you, O daughter of Tyndareus,

Queen Clytemnestra, what do you need? What is the news?

What story or news has inspired you

To send word throughout the city

That there should be thanksgiving? For every god

That guards the city, high and low,

Gods of the marketplace, gods of the sky,

Their altars are all blazing.

Some here, some there,

The flames leap up into the night sky,

Inspired by the sweet soft orders

Of she who brings sweetness to kings.

Don't ignore us, O Queen, tell us

Everything that you can,

And help remove this painful thought

Which at one time hung over us, evil,

And then from the fires you have lit

Hope will be kindled, and our worries

Will fall away for a little while, and

My heart will be rested again.



(The sign seen on the way; Eagles tearing apart a pregnant hare)


We must tell you of a sign shown on the way to war,

To men stronger than us,

(for a life similar to ours breathes from heaven

A spell, a strength in song)

How the forces of Achia, led by her two kings,

Greater than anything the Greeks have,

Were guided, revenging forces, against Troy

By the bird of war.

 Each of those kings of the sea had a king amongst birds,

One black eagle, one black but with a gleaming white tail,

They stood where all could see them, by the leaders,

And they killed a hare and the fetus in her womb,

They killed the life which was not yet lived.

Sorrow, you will come, but may good prevail!


(How Calchas interpreted the sign; what he saw in the future)


And the prophet of war, as he saw the pair of Atreid kings

Working together, knew

That those fierce birds represented the leaders of the army; and he spoke,

Reading the omens correctly.

“At the very end these hunters will hunt down Troy,

Yes, and in front of its walls

The space between its country and the city

Shall be laid to waste;

As long as the eye of God does not turn against us,

And this great force heading for Troy does not fail.

For pity is still alive, and she hates those eagles,

Which killed the unborn child in the body of the hare.

Artemis despises the eagles' feasting;

Sorrow, you will come, but may good prevail!"


(He prays to Artemis to make the sign come true, but as he sees more, he becomes afraid and asks Paian, the Healer, to restrain her)


“You beautiful one, you tender lover

Of the moist breath of the child of the lions;

You who are loved in all country

By all young wild animals,

Make the sign of the Eagles' kill come true!

Although the vision is horrible, make it true…

But oh, oh! Stop her, oh Paian, stop her!

For look, she has decided to create other evils,

Bringing great storms, driving on ships over unknown seas,

On, on, until there is more bloodshed:

They kill but do not feast; they do not pray; the law is broken;

They are tormented, and the bride does not obey,

And beyond that the anger is returning–

It is plotting, it haunts the house, for it never forgets–

It is waiting to punish a child yet unborn."

This is how Calchas, reading the sign of the eagles by the road,

Spoke to the Kings, with blessings and predictions of evil;

Let your song be like his:

Sorrow, you may come, but may good prevail!


(Religion like this belongs to the old barbarian gods, and will not bring peace. I turn to Zeus, who has demonstrated how man can learn through suffering)


Zeus! Zeus, whatever He is,

If He loves to hear this name,

That is what I shall call Him.

Searching through earth and sea and air


I can find no place of safety

Apart from with Him, if my mind

Can throw off its vanity

Before it dies.


There was a King who ruled in olden days,

Full of anger and courage and noise,

But his name has been forgotten!

Those who followed

Met with the same fate.

Only those whose hearts have known

Zeus, the conqueror and friend,

Will achieve what they desire;


Zeus is the guide, who made man

Consider his thoughts, Zeus, who ordered

That men shall learn through suffering.

So his heart will bleed

And will not rest, aching

With the memory of pain, until

Wisdom comes to him against his will.

That is the gift He gives, lifting

You to the throne through strife.


(Agamemnon accepted the sign. Then there was a long delay due to storms while the fleet was harboured at Aulis)


So on that day the Elder Lord,

The leader of the ships of the Alliance,

Did not argue with the words of the prophet,

Accepted the fate that was coming,

When with no water, their lips

Parched and the seas uncrossable,

Fate fell on that Greek army,

Facing Chalcis as it lay

By Aulis in that stormy harbour.


(At last Calchas told Agamemnon that Artemis was angry and demanded that he sacrifice his daughter. The King is full of doubt and sorrow)


And the winds blew from the river Strymon,

Uncontrolled, cutting, laying waste to everything,

Blinding men, who could find no shelter on their ships,

And this terrible period went on and on

Until the great Greek army was utterly ruined;

Then through the noise of the storm they heard the song of the war prophet,

Telling them how they could calm the storm,

But how the remedy would be even worse for the Princes.

Then he whispered the name of Artemis,

And those two brother kings trembled,

And beat the earth with their sticks, and wept.


But the older of the kings found his voice and spoke:

“I'm sure there will be a heavy punishment if God's orders are ignored;

But to kill my own child, my family's pride and joy,

Isn't that too harsh? For her blood to run down

The altar, killed by her father?

Whatever I do will lead to sorrow.

Will Agamemnon let his Navy and his people down,

And let the armies of Greece melt away like the snow?

They cry out, they are thirsting for death to break the spell,

For the blood of a virgin: this is an ancient ceremony, men say.

And they are desperate for it to be done–O God, may it all turn out well!"


(But his ambition drove him on, until he agreed to commit the sin of killing his daughter, Iphigenia, as a sacrifice)


He slowly bowed down to inevitable fate,

And a strange storm raged in his heart,

A wind of dark thoughts, unclean and unholy;

He stood up, driven to the last extreme.

There is a blindness which makes men bold,

Which makes them act on their lowest desires, which brings

Sorrow afterwards, and is a sorrow itself;

So this man hardened himself to kill his own child,

To help him take revenge for the laughter of a woman

And to save his navy!


They didn't care about her echoing sad cry of, “Father, Father,"

Nor the breath which flowed from her virgin heart,

Those armoured soldiers, hardened by battle,

And they prayed there, and when the prayer was done

He ordered the young men to tie her and haul her up,

As you do with a wild goat, high above the altar,

Gripping herself tightly, clinging onto

The robe she was wrapped in; then he told them to gag

The speech from her sweet mouth, those faltering cries,

–This will curse him forever!–


Violently, screaming through her gag,

She threw her yellow cloak down to the ground,

And  her gaze struck like an arrow

Into the heart of every man who was there to kill her:

They saw her face as in a picture, astonished;

The little girl who danced by her father's table,

The innocent voice of one who had never been loved by a man,

And they joined in her little cry of praise

When the third cup was poured…


What happened after that I did not see and will not speak of.

But Calchas was proved right; it is written,

That the one who suffers will learn; this was proved.

And what is going to happen,

You will find out eventually; why weep for it before it happens?

For it will happen, just as dawn comes of the darkness.

We just so good comes from all this evil;

 This is what the heart of Greece prays, this frail watchtower

Guarding the land on its own.


As they finish, Clytemnestra comes from the palace with her servants. She has finished her prayer and sacrifices, and is now nerved up to face the meeting with her husband. The leader approaches her.



I bow down to your Highness, O Queen.

It is written that when there is no man to fill the throne,

The woman will be honoured. Have you heard

 Some certain news? Or is it just hope which has made you

Order these altars to be lit? Although we are desperate

To know, it's up to you whether to tell us not.



The old story tells us that this is a morning of gladness,

A star child born from the dancing midnight,

It brings you news of joy

Beyond imagining: the Greeks have captured Troy.




I hardly understand, it's amazing.



We have captured Troy.  That's the plain fact.



This joy is enough to make one weep.



Yes, and those tears show a faithful heart.



WHat guarantee do you have?  Is there proof?



There is, unless God has lied.



Some vision came to you in a dream?



Who's accusing me of seeing things in my sleep?



You heard some voice?
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