EURIPIDES,   Trojan Women


: 415 B.C. Trilogy: Alexander (Paris), Palamedes, Troades.


Poseidon, King of the Sea
Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and War
Hecuba, ex-queen of Troy, widow of Priam
Cassandra, daughter of Priam and Hecuba, sister of Hector and Paris
Andromache, widow of Hector, mother of Astyanax
Helen, Queen of Sparta, wife of Menelaus
Talthybios, Greek herald
Menelaus, King of Sparta

Chorus of captive Trojan women


: The morning after. Troy is aflame. Most men are dead.


Poseidon and Athena in front of the walls of Troy. Poseidon helped build the walls, and now laments their destruction. The Trojan Women are about to be parcelled out to the victors.

Athena promises to help Poseidon get revenge for the Greek victory. Storms promised.

Hecuba awakes. She is somewhat critical of Helen's role in causing the War.


Chorus enters, summoned by Hecuba. Kommos: the future of slavery and separation because they are being deported from Troy to Greece as prizes of war. They imagine who will be given to whom, and imagine their future lives of work and shame in Greek households.

A: Talthybius informs the Women of the names of their future masters, to whom they have
been assigned by lot. Cassandra is to belong to Agamemnon (cf. Aeschylus, Agamemnon)

B: Cassandra is summoned. She sings of the future with Agamemnon, predicting his death
. There is hope for revenge. Cassandra predicts the future sufferings of Odysseus and of Agamemnon.
She bids farewell to her mother, Hecuba, and departs for the ships.

C: Hecuba bewails the contrast between her youthful glory and aged suffering
. She laments the separation from (dead) husband and sons, and from the women


Chorus: Lament for the capture of Troy, through the device of the Wooden Horse.

A: Andromache and Astyanax appear. Death of Polyxena is reported.
Andromache is glad not to have to be Achilles' slave and concubine, as Polyxena was destined to be.
Hecuba advises Andromache to bring Astyanax up to be the Avenger of Troy.

B: Talthybius reports that a decision has been made to kill Astyanax
. Andromache bids farewell to her son and hands him over to Talthybius.
Chorus: Troy was once captured by Heracles and Telamon the Salaminian.

After 10 years, Menelaus finally confronts his faithless wife Helen, in the presence of 860-1059 Queen Hecuba. Hecuba urges him toward mercilessness, but when he threatens to kill Helen, Helen asks to be heard. She claims she was taken by force by Paris; Hecuba says she is a liar. Hecuba says she went willingly, and that she was happy in Troy with Paris, who was smitten with her charms. Menelaus believes his wife is lying, but influenced himself by her beauty he orders her to be put on the boat, taken back to Sparta and prepared for punishment.
Chorus: Troy is being ruined, by Gods and men both. Husbands and children have died in the war; but the wives, mothers, and sisters remain to suffe
Talthybius enters with the body of Astyanax. He informs Hecuba that Andromache's ship has sailed and advises Hecuba to bury Astyanax's body quickly. Hecuba mourns, and arranges Astyanax on Hector's shield. Chorus mourns with Hecuba.
Talthybius returns and orders the women to be ready to leave.
Hecuba bids farewell to Troy, and thinks of leaping into the flames.
Chorus laments fallen Troy. Hecuba prays to the dead. Women turn toward the Greek ships.

January 28, 2010 12:10 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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