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The Persians, the oldest known theatrical play in history, is Aeschylus' tragic story about the Persians' defeat at the hands of the Greeks. Because the Persian Wars lasted nearly 30 years, most of the Greeks who saw the play had participated in the conflict and/or experienced its effects, and thus the play had particular resonance with its audience. The setting of the play is Persia and the opening scene presents the Persian queen mother, anxious with premonitions of disaster. News that her son, King Xerxes, and his entire fleet are vanquished in the Battle of Salamis, is brought by messenger. Xerxes survives and is changed by his defeat. In The Persians, Aeschylus not only provides a narrative of the battle but also a lesson about personal and imperial ambition, and tyranny.
Subject: Humanities -> Theatre -> Special Topics