The Histories

The Suitability of Style to Subject Matter in ‘The Persians’ and ‘The Histories’ 12th Grade

Both historian Herodotus and playwright Aeschylus adopt the central subject matter of the Persian Wars- a series of conflicts fought between Greek and Persian forces, which roughly began in 499 BC, and ended in 480 BC in Greek victory at the battle of Salamis. Whilst Aeschylus ‘The Persians’ due to its status as a tragedy can be seen hyperbolise and dramatise events unsuitably, Herodotus’ ‘The Histories’ exploits similar themes due to the descriptive prosaic style in which it is written. Nonetheless, it is the historical stance of Herodotus that allows for an objective and analytical take on the subject matter of The Persian Wars- one far more suitable than the intensely dramatic scenes of ‘The Persians’.

Aeschylus’ tragic structure arguably places excessive focus on the theme of hubris in exploring motives for ‘Salamis’; as does the grossly descriptive style of Herodotus text- suggesting that the styles of both texts are inappropriate in accurately conveying the subject matter of causes behind wars. Traditional tragedies were largely aimed at warning audience’s of the cycle of human folly and divine retribution; and this can be seen to conflict with Aeschylus’ aim to accurately document the Persian Wars: This is demonstrated...

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