Page:Ten Tragedies of Seneca (1902).djvu/105

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[Lines 1—17



Plistenes, Son, of Thyestes.

Chorus of Old Men of Mycenæ.

Tantalus, and another Son
of Thyestes
, silent members.
Guard, Messenger.


Atreus and Thyestes, the sons of Pelops by Hippodamia, governed their kingdom, every other year, having agreed to rule by turns. Thyestes, with the assisttance of his brother's wife, Aërope, whom he enticed to commit adultery, makes away with the golden ram. The fate of the Kingdom hanging on the possession thereof, and conscious of his guilt, he goes away into exile. Atreus, angry that he should have thus escaped his vengeance, pretends that he will restore him to favor, if he will send his sons as hostages; he persuades him to return and offers him his share of the kingdom again, and he persists in this persuasion. He has the three sons received as hostages sacrificed, and serves them up as a feast, part of them roasted, and part boiled, to the unsuspecting parents, and Atreus hands Thyestes wine mixed with their blood. Towards the end of the feast (from which Phœbus has fled, lest he should witness it) Atreus shows him the heads and hands of his sons, and tells him that they were the feast of which he had partaken, jeering at his brother's disgust, grief and curses.



Tantalus is brought from Hell by the Fury (Megæra), and he is compelled to foster the wicked enmity between his grandsons, Atreus and Thyestes, and the sons of Pelops.


Who has drawn me forth from my miserable abode in Tartarus, where my food was snatched away, as it neared my hungry mouth? which of the Gods has spitefully summoned Tantalus to see the abodes of the living again? Has any new punishment been dis-