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The original text

In the first century AD, Seneca the Younger wrote a tragedy called Thyestes.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE THYESTES, brother of Atreus, in exile from his fatherland. THE GHOST OF TANTALUS, doomed for his sins to come back to earth and inspire his house to greater sin. THE FURY, who drives the ghost on to do his allotted part. AN ATTENDANT OF ATREUS. THREE SONS OF THYESTES, Tantalus, Plisthenes, and another, only one of whom, Tantalus, takes part in the dialogue. A MESSENGER. CHORUS, Citizens of Mycenae.

Translations and adaptations

Several publications contain English translations, e.g. Seneca's tragedies with an English translation by Frank Justus Miller. Harvard University Press, 1917.

Translated into Dutch by Hugo Claus, published by De Bezige Bij, 1975.

The work by Hugo Claus is based on the tragedy by Seneca, while that of Ben Dehaeck is in its turn an adaptation and a translation into Afrikaans of Claus’s Thyestes.

Performance history in South Africa

1978: Ben Dehaeck directed the play at the Oude Libertas Theatre in March 1978 for the Libertas Teaterklub and USAT, starring André Roothman as Atreus, Dirk Winterbach as Thyestes and a cast of more than twenty.


Die Burger, 23 March 1978

Die Matie, 1 April 1978

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