This article argues that Aeschylus’ Persae provides fascinating source material for the
study of causality and tragic responsibility in ancient Greek tragedy. Rather than subscribing
to the traditional viewpoint that Persae consolidates archaic religious belief, it
aims to demonstrate the ways in which the play continuously calls into question the status
of human agency. By paying close attention to parallels and shifts in the word usage
throughout the play, the article focuses in particular on the growing tension between the
human and the divine, on the varied attributions of causality, and on the emergence of a
tragic vocabulary centered around the notion of deep thought.