Human and Divine Guilt in Aeschylus’ 'Niobe'


In Aeschylus’ fragmentarily preserved Niobe, the concept of human and divine guilt is instrumental, as numerous fragments toy with the concept of guilt and the inheritance of evil, as well as explore the delicate balance between divine causality and human error. Niobe is the daughter of an infamous theomahos, and she herself further provokes the divine wrath, failing to understand her mistakes until it is too late. Building on previous scholarship, the purpose of this paper is to explore the different ways in which Aeschylus approaches and distributes guilt, especially focusing on the interdependence of human and divine causality. Ancestral guilt plays a crucial part in Niobe’s doom, but eventually it is her own actions that set the divine punishment in motion. A close reading of selected fragments of the play helps us understand how this interplay of divine necessity and human responsibility works.

Parole chiave

Niobe; Aeschylus; Human Guilt; Divine Guilt; Drama

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ISSN 2612-3908

Centro Studi sul Teatro Classico - Università degli Studi di Torino  

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