The article analyses two rewritings of Aeschylus’ Oresteia written by Irish authors – Seamus Heaney’s The Mycenae Lookout and Colm Tóibín’s House of Names – investigating the common needs that motivated their interest in the tragedy and their different approach to it. In 1996, Heaney published The Mycenae Lookout, a sequence of five poems, describing the tragic event from the point of view of the sentinel, who waits for the signal of the king’s return from Troy. The background of the rewriting is the civil war in Northern Ireland. In 2017, Tóibín was inspired by the trilogy of Aeschylus for the novel House of Names, which not only demonstrates a careful reading of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, but also of Sophocles’ Electra and Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis. Tóibín, like Heaney, wrote bearing in mind the conflicts that devastated his land, but he also thought about contemporary civil wars that oppress defenceless populations nowadays, like the Syrians. The detailed study of the texts, which differ in genre and purpose, highlights the analogies between them in order to understand where and how Tóibín was inspired by his illustrious predecessor, demonstrating the influence of The Mycenae Lookout on the composition of his novel.
Heaney, Tóibín, The Mycenae Lookout, House of Names, Aeschylus, Oresteia,
Euripides, Iphigenia in Aulis
Università degli Studi di Trento. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org