Study Guide

Atreus and Thyestes

Introduction

Okay, we've really got to warn you guys: this myth is not for the faint of heart. The tale of the awful, sibling rivalry of Atreus and Thyestes is full of murder, incest, and cannibalism... yes, cannibalism. If you're the sort of person who doesn't flinch when watching Saw or whatever new horror flick Rob Zombie is putting out there, then this is the myth for you.

Of course, for those of us who shy away from horror movies or violent entertainment in general, this story still has something for you. Even though it's definitely one of the more horrific of all the Greek myths, it doesn't celebrate violence at all. Instead, it asks us to look at just how horrible people can be to each other, when they let lust for revenge take control. Though this is the story of two brothers who make total war on each other, ultimately this is a tale that begs for peace.

Best of the Web

Atreus and Thyestes Resources

Websites

Thyestes Take a Bow
Check out this review for this brutal, bloody play.

Movie or TV Productions

Titus
This movie version of Shakespeare's (Atreus and Thyestes inspired) Titus Andronicus, directed by Julie Taymor, is a not-to-miss classic.

Thyestes on TV
Check out this 1966 TV movie version of the play by Seneca—horror guaranteed.

Books

Thyestes Takes a Bow...Again
This tragedy by the Roman playwright, Seneca, is thought by some to be the grisliest out of all the Greek and Roman plays. (Trust us, that's a hard title to win.)

Churchill Does Seneca
Major British playwright puts her own stamp on Seneca's Thyestes in this modernized classic.

Titus Andronicus
This gruesome tragedy by Billy Shakespeare (yeah, we call him Billy) is inspired by Atreus and Thyestes.