Why read it? Why would Euripides , a Greek dramatist, choose The Trojan Women as the subjects of one of his greatest plays? Did he have a reason in presenting this controversial play to an Athenian audience? Be patient with me, oh, Reader. Each question has an answer.
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Plot[ edit ] Hecuba : Alas! Ilion is ablaze; the fire consumes the citadel, the roofs of our city, the tops of the walls! Chorus: Like smoke blown to heaven on the wings of the wind, our country, our conquered country, perishes.
Its palaces are overrun by the fierce flames and the murderous spear. Hecuba: O land that reared my children! However, it begins first with the gods Athena and Poseidon discussing ways to punish the Greek armies because they condoned that Ajax the Lesser raped Cassandra , the eldest daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, after dragging her from a statue of Athena.
What follows shows how much the Trojan women have suffered as their grief is compounded when the Greeks dole out additional deaths and divide their shares of women. The Greek herald Talthybius arrives to tell the dethroned queen Hecuba what will befall her and her children. She sings a wedding song for herself and Agamemnon that describes their bloody deaths. However, Cassandra is also cursed so that her visions of the future are never believed, and she is carried off.
The widowed princess Andromache arrives and Hecuba learns from her that her youngest daughter, Polyxena , has been killed as a sacrifice at the tomb of the Greek warrior Achilles. The Greek leaders are afraid that the boy will grow up to avenge his father Hector, and rather than take this chance, they plan to throw him off from the battlements of Troy to his death.
Helen , though not one of the Trojan women, is supposed to suffer greatly as well: Menelaus arrives to take her back to Greece with him where a death sentence awaits her.
Helen begs and tries to seduce her husband into sparing her life. Menelaus remains resolved to kill her, but the audience watching the play knows that he will let her live and take her back. Talthybius gives the corpse to Hecuba, who prepares the body of her grandson for burial before they are finally taken off with Odysseus. Throughout the play, many of the Trojan women lament the loss of the land that reared them.
Hecuba in particular lets it be known that Troy had been her home for her entire life, only to see herself as an old grandmother watching the burning of Troy, the death of her husband, her children, and her grandchildren before she will be taken as a slave to Odysseus.
With staging by Romanian-born theater director Andrei Serban and music by American composer Elizabeth Swados, this production of The Trojan Women went on to tour more than thirty countries over the course of forty years. Since , The Trojan Women Project has been sharing this production with diverse communities that now include Guatemala, Cambodia and Kosovo. A Festival of work from all participants is scheduled for December, The French public intellectual , Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a version of The Trojan Women that mostly is faithful to the original Greek text, yet includes veiled references to European imperialism in Asia, and emphases of existentialist themes.
The Israeli playwright Hanoch Levin also wrote his own version of the play, adding more disturbing scenes and scatological details. Although it is set in 19th century Africa, Osofisan has said that the play was also inspired by the invasion of Iraq by the U. In anticipation of his soon-to-come multimedia production of A Clockwork Orange , Mays utilized a marginal multimedia approach to the play, opening the piece with a faux CNN report intended to echo the then-current war in Iraq.
Charles L. Mee adapted The Trojan Women in to have a more modern, updated outlook on war. He included original interviews with Holocaust and Hiroshima survivors.
Tragédies. Tome IV, Les Troyennes ; Iphigénie en Tauride ; Électre
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