100+ Aeschylus Quotes: A Treasury of Wisdom
Aeschylus quotes offer a glimpse into the mind of one of ancient Greece’s greatest playwrights. Known as the father of tragedy, Aeschylus’ works are still widely studied and performed today.
His plays explore themes of fate, family, and the consequences of past actions, and his use of the chorus and the dramatic trilogy significantly impacted the development of Western drama. This article will explore some of Aeschylus’ most memorable quotes.
107 Most Famous Aeschylus Quotes of All Time
Check out these timeless Aeschylus quotes that’ll guide you through life:
- To you, the clever and crafty, bitter beyond all bitterness, who has sinned against the gods in bestowing honors upon creatures of a dayto you, thief of fire, I speak.
- A great ox stands on my tongue.
- Alas for the affairs of men! When they are fortunate you might compare them to a shadow; and if they are unfortunate, a wet sponge with one dash wipes the picture away.
- And one who is just of his own free will shall not lack for happiness; and he will never come to utter ruin.
- And there they ring the walls, the young, the lithe. The handsome hold the graves they won in Troy; the enemy earth rides over those who conquered.
- And though all streams flow from a single course to cleanse the blood from polluted hand, they hasten on their course in vain.
- Bastions of wealth are no deference for the man who treads the grand altar of Justice down and out of sight.
- Be bold and boast, just like the cock beside the hen.
- Bronze in the mirror of the form, wine of the mind.
- But time growing old teaches all things.
- By Time and Age full many things are taught.
- Call no man happy till he is dead.
- Destiny waits alike for the free man as well as for him enslaved by another’s might.
- Don’t you know this, that words are doctors to a diseased temperment?
- Drips in our hearts as we try to sleep,
- Everyone’s quick to blame the alien.
- Excessive fear is always powerless.
- For a murderous blow let murderous blow atone.
- For hostile word let hostile word be paid.
- For know that no one is free, except Zeus.
- For somehow this is tyranny’s disease, to trust no friends.
- For the impious act begets more after it, like to the parent stock.
- For the poison of hatred seated near the heart doubles the burden for the one who suffers the disease; he is burdened with his own sorrow, and groans on seeing another’s happiness.
- For there is no defense for a man who, in the excess of his wealth, has kicked the great altar of Justice out of sight.
- From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.
- He who goes unenvied shall not be admired.
- His resolve is not to seem, but to be, the best.
- I have learned to hate all traitors, and there is no disease that I spit on more than treachery.
- I know how men in exile feed on dreams.
- I say you must not win an unjust case by oaths.
- I willingly speak to those who know, but for those who do not know I forget.
- I would rather be ignorant than knowledgeable of evils.
- I, schooled in misery, know many purifying rites, and I know where speech is proper and where silence.
- If a man suffers ill, let it be without shame; for this is the only profit when we are dead. You will never say a good word about deeds that are evil and disgraceful.
- If you pour oil and vinegar into the same vessel, you would call them not friends but opponents.
- In every tyrant’s heart there springs in the end this poison, that he cannot trust a friend.
- In the lack of judgment great harm arises, but one vote cast can set right a house.
- It is a light thing for whoever keeps his foot outside trouble to advise and counsel him that suffers.
- It is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish.
- It is an ill thing to be the first to bring news of ill.
- It is best for the wise man not to seem wise.
- It is easy when we are in prosperity to give advice to the afflicted.
- It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.
- Justice turns the scale, bringing to some learning through suffering.
- Know not to revere human things too much.
- Mourn for me rather as living than as dead.
- My friends, whoever has had experience of evils knows how whenever a flood of ills comes upon mortals, a man fears everything; but whenever a divine force cheers on our voyage, then we believe that the same fate will always blow fair.
- My will is mine…I shall not make it soft for you.
- Obedience is the mother of success and is wedded to safety.
- Of prosperity mortals can never have enough.
- Only through suffering do we learn
- ‘Oh, it is easy for the one who stands outside the prisonwall of pain to exhort and teach the one who suffers
- Search well and be wise, nor believe that selfwilled pride will ever be better than good counsel.
- Selfwill in the man who does not reckon wisely is by itself the weakest of all things.
- She looked just like a painting dying to speak.
- Since long I’ve held silence a remedy for harm.
- Suffering brings experience.
- The anvil of justice is planted firm, and fate who makes the sword does the forging in advance.
- The evils of mortals are manifold; nowhere is trouble of the same wing seen.
- The man who does ill must suffer ill.
- The man whose authority is recent is always stern.
- The one knowing what is profitable, and not the man knowing many things, is wise.
- The reward of suffering is experience.
- The wisest of the wise may err.
- There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls.
- There is no avoidance in delay.
- There is no disgrace in an enemy suffering ill at an enemy’s hand, when you hate mutually.
- They sent forth men to battle, But no such men return; And home, to claim their welcome, Come ashes in an urn
- Time brings all things to pass.
- Time, as it grows old, teaches all things.
- To be free from evil thoughts is God’s best gift.
- To learn is to be young, however old.
- To mourn and bewail your illfortune, when you will gain a tear from those who listen, this is worth the trouble.
- Too few rejoice at a friend’s good fortune.
- Trouble, with its memories of pain,
- Unanimous hatred is the greatest medicine for a human community.
- Unions in wedlock are perverted by the victory of shameless passion that masters the female among men and beasts.
- We must pronounce him fortunate who has ended his life in fair prosperity.
- We shall perish by guile just as we slew.
- We spoil ourselves with scruples long as things go well.
- What atonement is there for blood spilt upon the earth?
- What good is it to live a life that brings pains?
- What is there more kindly than the feeling between host and guest?
- When a match has equal partners then I fear not.
- When one is wise, it’s wisest to seem foolish.
- When strength is yoked with justice, where is a mightier pair than they?
- Whoever is new to power is always harsh.
- Words are doctors for the diseased temper.
- Words are the physicians of a mind diseased.
- You have been trapped in the inescapable net of ruin by your own want of sense.
- Zeus, first cause, prime mover; for what thing without Zeus is done among mortals?
- CLYTEMNESTRA What ails thee, raising this ado for us? SLAVE I say the dead are come to slay the living.
- Hear the sum of the whole matter in the compass of one brief word — every art possessed by man comes from Prometheus.
- They came back To widows, To fatherless children, To screams, to sobbing. The men came back As little clay jars Full of sharp cinders.
- Every medicine is vain.
- FURIES: Over the beast doomed to the fire this is the chant, scatter of wits, frenzy and fear, hurting the heart, song of the Furies binding brain and blighting blood in its stringless melody.
- Old men are always young enough to learn, with profit.
- It is always in season for old men to learn.
- Let me attain no envied wealth, let me not plunder cities, neither be taken in turn, and face life in the power of another.
- A world of wealth is trash if men are wanting; men who have no wealth never find fortune smiling as their strength deserves.
- I have not need to promise what I cannot do.
- Give me an answer which is plain to understand.
- We should know what is true before we break our rage.
- For many among men are they who set high the show of honor, yet break justice.
- It is an easy thing for one whose foot is on the outside of calamity to give advice and to rebuke the sufferer.
- Only when man’s life comes to its end in prosperity can one call that man fortunate.
- Pain both ways and what is worse?
5 Aeschylus Quotes on Life
Here are some profound Aeschylus quotes on life:
- For it would be better to die once and for all than to suffer pain for all one’s life.
- Death is easier than a wretched life; and better never to have born than to live and fare badly.
- Neither a life of anarchy nor one beneath a despot should you praise; to all that lies in the middle a god has given excellence.
- Only when a man’s life comes to its end in prosperity dare we pronounce him happy.
- Tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.
2 Aeschylus Quotes on Love
Here are a couple of Aeschylus quotes on love:
- God loves to help him who strives to help himself.
- Married love between man and woman is bigger than oaths guarded by right of nature.
2 Aeschylus Quotes on Women
Check out these Aeschylus quotes on women:
- What exists outside is a man’s concern; let no woman give advice; and do no mischief within doors.
- Rumours voiced by women come to nothing.
4 Aeschylus Quotes on Truth
Here are some Aeschylus quotes on truth:
- The words of truth are simple.
- In war, truth is the first casualty.
- There is no sickness worse for me that words that to be kind must lie.
- It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man the oath.
5 Aeschylus Quotes on Wisdom
Check out these insightful Aeschylus quotes on wisdom:
- Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.
- It is good even for old men to learn wisdom.
- Memory is the mother of all wisdom.
- Wisdom comes through suffering.
- There is advantage in the wisdom won from pain.
3 Aeschylus Quotes on Death
Here are some thought-provoking quotes on death by Aeschylus:
- Death is a softer thing by far than tyranny.
- I gave them hope, and so turned away their eyes from death.
- Of all the gods only death does not desire gifts.
10 Aeschylus Quotes on God
Check out these Aeschylus quotes on God:
- God always strives together with those who strive.
- God lends a helping hand to the man who tries hard.
- God’s most lordly gift to man is decency of mind.
- For this is the mark of a wise and upright man, not to rail against the gods in misfortune.
- He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
- Whenever a man makes haste, God too hastens with him.
- Who, except the gods, can live time through forever without any pain?
- Neither the life of anarchy nor the life enslaved by tyrants, no, worship neither. Strike the balance all in all and god will give you power.
- When a man’s willing and eager the god’s join in.
- A god implants in mortal guilt whenever he wants utterly to confound a house.
Who Was Aeschylus?
Aeschylus was an ancient Greek playwright, one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, along with Sophocles and Euripides.
When and Where Was Aeschylus Born?
Aeschylus was born in 525 BCE in Eleusis, a deme of Athens, Greece.
What Are Some of Aeschylus’ Most Famous Works?
Aeschylus’ most famous works include the Oresteia trilogy (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides), Prometheus Bound, and Seven Against Thebes.
How Did Aeschylus Influence the Development of Greek Tragedy?
Aeschylus is often recognized as the father of tragedy and his work was instrumental in the development of Greek tragedy. He introduced the use of the chorus and developed the dramatic trilogy, which became a popular form of Greek drama.
What Is the Oresteia Trilogy?
The Oresteia trilogy is a series of three plays by Aeschylus: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides. The plays tell the story of the House of Atreus and the cycle of violence and revenge that plagues its members.
What Is Prometheus Bound About?
Prometheus Bound is a play by Aeschylus that tells the story of Prometheus, a Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. As punishment, Prometheus was bound to a rock and punished by Zeus. The play explores themes of rebellion and punishment, as well as the relationship between the gods and mortals.
What Is Seven Against Thebes About?
Seven Against Thebes is a play by Aeschylus that tells the story of the siege of Thebes by the seven sons of the cursed house of Oedipus. The play explores themes of family, fate, and the consequences of past actions.
Why Is Aeschylus Considered One of the Greatest Tragedians of Ancient Greece?
Aeschylus is considered one of the greatest tragedians of ancient Greece because of his powerful storytelling, complex characters, and innovative use of the chorus and the trilogy form. His plays continue to be widely studied and performed today, and his influence on the development of tragedy is widely acknowledged.
What Are Some of the Themes in Aeschylus’ Plays?
Aeschylus’ plays explore themes of fate, family, revenge, and the consequences of past actions. His works also often examine the relationship between the gods and mortals, and the power dynamics between individuals and society.
How Did Aeschylus’ Plays Differ From Those of His Contemporaries?
Aeschylus’ plays were characterized by their use of the chorus and the development of the dramatic trilogy, which was a popular form of Greek drama. He also introduced the use of a second actor, which allowed for more complex and nuanced character interactions.
How Many Plays Did Aeschylus Write?
Aeschylus is believed to have written around 90 plays, but only 7 have survived.
What Was Aeschylus’ Writing Style?
Aeschylus is known for his use of grand, elevated language and his emphasis on action and spectacle. He also often used the chorus to comment on the action and provide insight into the characters and themes of his plays.
Are Any of Aeschylus’ Works Still Performed Today?
Some of Aeschylus’ works are still performed today, particularly the Oresteia trilogy, Prometheus Bound, and Seven Against Thebes. They are considered classics and are still performed at different theater festivals and events around the world.
Are There Any Notable Adaptations or Translations of Aeschylus’ Works?
Aeschylus’ works have been adapted and translated many times over the centuries. Some notable adaptations include Jean Anouilh’s “Eurydice” (1942), and Ted Hughes’s “Prometheus on his Crag” (1998). There are also various translations of his works in modern English, which have been widely used in academic studies and theater productions.
When and Where Did Aeschylus Die?
Aeschylus died in 456 BCE in Gela, Sicily, Italy. The cause of death is not known for certain, but there is a story that an eagle, mistaking his bald head for a rock, dropped a tortoise on it, thinking to crack the shell.