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"This is a new translation of the classic play. It combines a poet's translation with a scholar's introduction and notes." "Among surviving Greek tragedies only Euripides' Trojan Women shows us the extinction of a whole city, an entire people. Despite its grim theme, or more likely because of the centrality of that theme to the deepest fears of our own age, this is one of "This is a new translation of the classic play. It combines a poet's translation with a scholar's introduction and notes." "Among surviving Greek tragedies only Euripides' Trojan Women shows us the extinction of a whole city, an entire people. Despite its grim theme, or more likely because of the centrality of that theme to the deepest fears of our own age, this is one of the relatively few Greek tragedies that regularly finds its way to the stage. Here the power of Euripides' theatrical and moral imagination speaks clearly across the twenty-five centuries that separate our world from his." The theme is really a double one: the suffering of the victims of war, exemplified by the woman who survive the fall of Troy, and the degradation of the victors, shown by the Greeks' reckless and ultimately self-destructive behavior. It offers an enduring picture of human fortitude in the midst of despair. Trojan Women gains special relevance, of course, in times of war. It presents a particularly intense account of human suffering and uncertainty, but one that is also rooted in considerations of power and policy, morality and expedience. Furthermore, the seductions of power and the dangers both of its exercise and of resistance to it as portrayed in Trojan Women are not simply philosophical or rhetorical gambits but part of the lived experience of Euripides' day.


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"This is a new translation of the classic play. It combines a poet's translation with a scholar's introduction and notes." "Among surviving Greek tragedies only Euripides' Trojan Women shows us the extinction of a whole city, an entire people. Despite its grim theme, or more likely because of the centrality of that theme to the deepest fears of our own age, this is one of "This is a new translation of the classic play. It combines a poet's translation with a scholar's introduction and notes." "Among surviving Greek tragedies only Euripides' Trojan Women shows us the extinction of a whole city, an entire people. Despite its grim theme, or more likely because of the centrality of that theme to the deepest fears of our own age, this is one of the relatively few Greek tragedies that regularly finds its way to the stage. Here the power of Euripides' theatrical and moral imagination speaks clearly across the twenty-five centuries that separate our world from his." The theme is really a double one: the suffering of the victims of war, exemplified by the woman who survive the fall of Troy, and the degradation of the victors, shown by the Greeks' reckless and ultimately self-destructive behavior. It offers an enduring picture of human fortitude in the midst of despair. Trojan Women gains special relevance, of course, in times of war. It presents a particularly intense account of human suffering and uncertainty, but one that is also rooted in considerations of power and policy, morality and expedience. Furthermore, the seductions of power and the dangers both of its exercise and of resistance to it as portrayed in Trojan Women are not simply philosophical or rhetorical gambits but part of the lived experience of Euripides' day.

30 review for The Trojan Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jean Menzies

    I found this play to possibly be the Greek tragedy that has evoked the most emotion from me to date. I enjoy Euripides critical, ironic style and how he plays with different versions of Greek myths and this play is no different. It was very hard hitting and dealt with some dark themes (the post-war victims in ancient times). I could really picture the anguish and I would love to see this play performed on stage. It also has some interesting ancient commentary on war in general and the myth of th I found this play to possibly be the Greek tragedy that has evoked the most emotion from me to date. I enjoy Euripides critical, ironic style and how he plays with different versions of Greek myths and this play is no different. It was very hard hitting and dealt with some dark themes (the post-war victims in ancient times). I could really picture the anguish and I would love to see this play performed on stage. It also has some interesting ancient commentary on war in general and the myth of the Trojan war.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lawyer

    The Trojan Women: Euripides' Warning on the Futility of War The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.-Edmund Burke What does a play presented in 415 BC possibly have to say to us today? 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. No question The Trojan Women: Euripides' Warning on the Futility of War The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.-Edmund Burke What does a play presented in 415 BC possibly have to say to us today? 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. No question presented here is Rhetorical. I do not engage in the ancient art of classical Oratory. Nor do I engage in the art of Sophistry for I believe Deception to be among the most lowest practices among Men or Gods. Once, in my youth, I was known as a Scholar of the Classical World. For this I was awarded Prizes. I have Trophies and Books proclaiming my knowledge of the ways of an ancient world. In the naivete of my youth I did not realize how closely the age in which I lived mirrored a world I thought had vanished so long ago. I studied the Greek and Roman Epics. The Arts and Theatrical Productions of both great Classical Societies. I knew the histories of each of these Worlds, and what led to their Downfalls. Now, in my older years, I look at the events of this World in which we now live. I am dismayed. For I see we have learned little. You think we live in an Age of Wonders. Oh, yes. In many ways we do. Information is available at our fingertips. We communicate with one another at a pace that satisfies our urges for instant gratification. We have little patience, do we not? I have lived through wars. I have lived through tensions between great nations. I have lived through a time where we stood on the brink of the destruction of this Planet. Some called it a Cold War. But it became dangerously hot. Wisdom seemed to prevail. For generations. And even the Cold war disappeared. The danger of nuclear war faded into obscurity. But, Oh, Reader, contemplate the current State of the times in which we live now. The Hubris of the Men who Live in this World of Today. Determine whether you find yourself Comfortable. I will give you a few moments to consider these things. Then we will consider continuing this discourse. Have you thought about it? Of course, I am sure you know of the Trojan War. How the Greeks, the Achaeans, banded together to lay siege to the City of Troy to preserve the honor of Menelaus, a King, who lost his wife Helen to Paris, a son of Troy. How they fought for ten years before breaching the walls of Troy through deception. How Troy fell. How the House of Troy was destroyed, the Trojan Women were enslaved and distributed to the leaders of Greece as slaves, as Concubines. And, how the Greeks offended the very Gods who had supported them in their efforts to bring about the downfall of Troy. How those very Gods then turned upon their favored revenants and sought to destroy them because of their faithlessness. Why then, would Euripides tell this story to an Athenian audience? Because Athens was at war with Sparta. Had been at war with Sparta in the Peleponessian War for many years. At this time, the Arrogance of the Athenians had led them to sack the City of Melos. They killed every one of the men of Melos. They sold everyone of the women and children of Melos into slavery. Euripides chose the Trojan Women as his protagonists in this play to show the Athenians the error of their Hubris when a dominant nation conquers a lesser one for its own prideful purposes. And Euripides knew that as he was presenting this play, the same Athenians were planning a war against the Empire of Syracuse. In his wisdom, Euripides, predicted it would be a disaster that would lead to the downfall of Athens and their subjection forever to their long time enemy Sparta. Euripides in this tragedy attempted to show his fellow Athenians that war only led to tragedy. That the only result of engaging in War was Futility. That those who suffered the most were the Widows, the Orphans of those who died in War. Euripides was correct. Athens began its war against Syracuse the very year The Trojan Women was presented. The War was a disaster. The entire Athenian Expedition of two hundred ships and thousands of men were wiped out in a single stroke. In 404 BC, Athens fell to Sparta forever. The wailing of Widows and Orphans was great. Euripides Message to us Today On January 2, 2016, President Vladimir Putin signed a Security Document stating that the United States and Nato were a threat to Russia. On January 6, 2016, North Korea exploded another Nuclear device. North Korea claims it was a Hydrogen device. This week Middle Eastern nations have severed diplomatic nations with Iran. In the United States, at no time has the country been more divided between liberal and conservative right wings of the government. The anonymous faces of ISIS continue to commit terrorist acts about the world. Gun lobbyists in the United States continue to control resistance to reasonable effots to achieve gun control. The Innocent continue to cry. Hubris remains alive and well. Euripides' message is as relevant today as it was in 415 BC.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Greek hydria, ca 520–510 BCE; Achilles dragging the body of Hector behind his chariot while Hecuba mourns her son's death and the winged figure of Iris pleads for a ransom of Hector’s body. Joint review of Euripides' The Trojan Women and Jean-Paul Sartre's adaptation Les Troyennes ................... What shall the poet say, what words will he inscribe upon your monument? Here lies a little child the Argives killed, because they were afraid of him. That? The epitaph of Greek shame. In 415 BCE Eur Greek hydria, ca 520–510 BCE; Achilles dragging the body of Hector behind his chariot while Hecuba mourns her son's death and the winged figure of Iris pleads for a ransom of Hector’s body. Joint review of Euripides' The Trojan Women and Jean-Paul Sartre's adaptation Les Troyennes ................... What shall the poet say, what words will he inscribe upon your monument? Here lies a little child the Argives killed, because they were afraid of him. That? The epitaph of Greek shame. In 415 BCE Euripides staged a trilogy of dramas accompanied by the usual satyr play of which only the final play of the trilogy has survived to our time - The Trojan Women. At the time of this first performance the initial stage of the Peloponnesian War was over and Athens' absurd expedition to Sicily was soon to begin, spurred on by Alcibiades' personal ambition. How the Athenians were to rue that mad decision. Both sides of the Peloponnesian War had committed the most horrendous of massacres, particularly on the citizens of defeated cities, and I think Euripides had gotten well and truly sick of it. The Trojan Women is the story of the immediate aftermath of the Greeks' victory in the Trojan War, and in Euripides' hands it is a story of brutal, limitless murder by the victors and their dividing up and hauling away of the surviving women as spoils of war. Did the audience squirm in its seats as they watched their famous ancestors murder and rape the now hapless Trojans? In any case, they awarded the festival's theater prize to another playwright. Not unusually for Euripides, the primary characters of the piece are women, particularly Hecuba, Queen of Troy, Cassandra, the mad seer, Andromache, Hector's widow, and Helen, the Face that Launched a Thousand Ships. They must endure the will of the Greek men, but the latter do not cut a dashing figure in this play, on the contrary. In a poetic language whose stateliness and power recalls that of Aeschylus and which far outstrips any of the other Euripidean plays I've read, we witness the suffering of the women already staggering under the blows of recent losses who must endure yet further ravages during the play and, as is made oh so clear, for the rest of their lives.(*) It is more than a little harrowing. In 1965 Jean-Paul Sartre staged an adaptation of The Trojan Women, not a translation, despite how Les Troyennes is catalogued here at GR. Sartre removed much less than he added, for, as he explains in the Introduction, he felt it necessary to fill in for a modern audience that which went without saying for the 5th century Greek audience. But he also saw an opportunity to make some points for a then contemporary audience. He chose to view the Trojan War as a "colonial war", and so the Greeks/Trojans shade into the Europeans/Colonized with interesting effect. Not satisfied with that, Sartre took the implicit nihilism of Euripides' piece in which the gods' whims and fancies saw to it that both the Trojans and the Greeks payed dearly despite all the pleas and sacrifices made to the gods by both sides and made it quite explicit. Though Sartre writes in the Introduction that he "chose a poetic language which retains the ceremonial character of the text, its rhetorical value, - but which modifies its accent", little remains in Les Troyennes of that ceremonial character, of that rhetorical value, of that poetry. And with those went a fair amount of the emotional power of Euripides' play, at least for me. Nonetheless, it was very interesting to read this refracted image of Euripides' text and to wonder what the audience at the National Popular Theater made of it. (*) In another play (Andromache) Euripides follows Andromache into her sexual servitude for Achilles' son, Neoptolemus; she bears him a son who replaces Astyanax - the son she bore Hector and who is murdered in The Trojan Women upon Odysseus' insistence - but who is, in turn, threatened with murder by Neoptolemus' Spartan wife. Euripides wrote Andromache quite a bit earlier (428-425), spills a great deal of patriotic bile over the Spartans and even gives the play a relatively happy ending.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    After successfully resisting a ten year siege, Troy has fallen, thanks to the Greeks' final dirty trick. The Trojan men have all been killed. The women and children are being carried off to become prostitutes and slaves. Hecuba, who yesterday was the queen of this beautiful city, looks at the smoking ruins around her and tries to comfort Andromache, her daughter-in-law. One day, she says, Andromache's young son Astyanax will be a grown man, and he will take revenge on the cruel invaders. But Uly After successfully resisting a ten year siege, Troy has fallen, thanks to the Greeks' final dirty trick. The Trojan men have all been killed. The women and children are being carried off to become prostitutes and slaves. Hecuba, who yesterday was the queen of this beautiful city, looks at the smoking ruins around her and tries to comfort Andromache, her daughter-in-law. One day, she says, Andromache's young son Astyanax will be a grown man, and he will take revenge on the cruel invaders. But Ulysses, the cynical and illusionless Greek general, has already thought of this. He's just sent his flunky, Talthyrios, to tell Andromache that they've changed their minds: Astyanax will not be spared with the other children, but rather will be put to death as a potentially dangerous element. Andromache's anguished reply is still echoing around us three thousand years later, having been passed from Homer, to Euripides, to Sartre:Hommes de l'Europe, vous méprisez l'Afrique et l'Asie et vous nous appelez barbares, je crois, Mais quand la gloriole et la cupidité vous jettent chez nous, vous pillez, vous torturez, vous massacrez. Où sont les barbares, alors ? Et vous, les Grecs, si fièrs de votre humanité, Où êtes-vous ? Je vous le dis : pas un de nous n'aurait osé faire à une mère ce que vous me faites à moi, avec la calme de la bonne conscience (Men of Europe You despise Africa and Asia And I think you call us barbarians But when your greed and love of glory Bring you to our shores You pillage, you torture, you kill. Who are the barbarians then? You Greeks, so proud of your civilization, Who are you? I tell you this: not one of us Would have dared to do to a mother What you are doing to me Without it even disturbing your conscience)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Cynda

    Newer Review here with Older Review below. When a GR friend said she wanted to read, I took the opportunity to reread. She and I plan to read literary works that inform our understandings of The Illiad. This time I read a prose version posted online by MIT. This time I watched this transitional traditional ritual drama enacted outdoors outdoors by UNC-Asheville which was posted on YouTube. Development of Character. Hecuba is an imperfect yet effective crone. She does not always perceive correctly Newer Review here with Older Review below. When a GR friend said she wanted to read, I took the opportunity to reread. She and I plan to read literary works that inform our understandings of The Illiad. This time I read a prose version posted online by MIT. This time I watched this transitional traditional ritual drama enacted outdoors outdoors by UNC-Asheville which was posted on YouTube. Development of Character. Hecuba is an imperfect yet effective crone. She does not always perceive correctly yet she encourages appropriately, helping her daughter and daughter-in-law to leave Troy with as much dignity as possible. Although Euripides wrote a play that still has strong roots in traditional ritual drama, he wrote lines that tells his audience something of interior landscapes of women, all. The watching of an enactment presented outside makes clear the obstacles Euripides faced in getting his audience to hear anything more than the basic plot to be understood, yet he was successful. _________ Older Review here. Many years ago when I was young, I watched the movie version of The Trojan Women (1971). All I understood at the time was that Hecuba stayed strong enough to help the other Trojan women and that Helen was alluring enough to send men to war and to send women into despair and to their destruction. I was horrified. I felt as though I had watched the most horrifying movie ever. Decades later, I have started to re-read and to read ancient works. This time I both read the play and re-watched the 1971 movie on Vimeo. As to be expected, I have a completely different understanding of the play. Instead of horror, I see literary greatness. All the elements I would hope to see in such a situation-- destruction of a city, the re-allocation of women, the wisdom of a crone, the insanity that can follow crisis, the despair that follows, new awareness and decisions, and the presence of the prime mover of the previous, current, and future action--all take place in a compact and coherent form. Everything I would want to know is known/shown in a short time. When I first looked over the text prior to reading it, it seemed as though there were long speeches, orations, choruses. Once I both started reading and watching the play, I came to a different, better understanding. Sure some of the speeches were long, yet in the movie moves well enough. Crazed Cassandra moves around, almost as through she is trying to get away from the future assigned her. Andromache stands with her child, cuddles her child, has something of an argument with Hecuba. Helen of Troy moves in a dramatic fashion, as she does a dance of sorts around Menelaus as she works him. The chorus seemed as though it might be the challenging part to read, the chorus talking for for a page or two at a time. While the text reads as straight text and could be delivered that way, the 1971 movie version depicts the chorus as Trojan widows who are a asking questions, remembering, fearing, commenting as a group of despairing women might. Dithyrambic Chorus. I am reading Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. In the introductory note to Erra and Ishum, I read that this type of chorus was a traditional ritual drama that evolved into the operas and plays we are more familiar with and that Euripides was an innovator in this change. Appreciating the Connections. Casting Comments. The main actors of US American, French, and English backgrounds made the movie mainstream and accessible to Western audiences. The women of the chorus appeared authentic enough, varying from fair to dark and with voices that that either used or assumed a non-Western, perhaps Mediterrean, cadence. Adding a strong and important bit of authenticity, Irene Papas who is herself Greek herself plays the Greek Helen of Troy, previously the queen of Sparta and a Hellene. By casting as Helen an actor who looks like a stereotypical dark beauty Greek, the movie acquires 1. a more Mediterrean feel and 2. an otherness in comparison to the rest of the cast, particularly the actors of the main characters. This casting provides an authencity that I have yet to find in later movie depictions. I will be reading more Euripides plays. I read with GR group: NonFiction Side reads. I read from Euripides III: Hecuba / Andromache / The Trojan Women / Ion

  6. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    Wow. This play was stunning. I have so many things I would like to say and yet none of my words or even my thoughts feel sufficient. The Trojan War is over. The women of the city are waiting to hear which of the Greek warriors will be each one's new master, for they are all going into slavery as prizes of war. Even King Priam's wife Hecuba, the mother of Paris, the man who started it all by bringing Helen to Troy. The play revolves around the women's confusion, their pain, their attempts to unde Wow. This play was stunning. I have so many things I would like to say and yet none of my words or even my thoughts feel sufficient. The Trojan War is over. The women of the city are waiting to hear which of the Greek warriors will be each one's new master, for they are all going into slavery as prizes of war. Even King Priam's wife Hecuba, the mother of Paris, the man who started it all by bringing Helen to Troy. The play revolves around the women's confusion, their pain, their attempts to understand why their lives have been shattered and how they will face their tragic future. I remember reading The Odyssey in early school years, but I never managed The Iliad, so I was only vaguely familiar with the story of the war itself. Now I want to go back to Homer, because Odysseus is shown as much more of an utter creep than I ever realized. He was the one who suggested that the young son of Hector, the Trojan prince, be taken from his mother Andromache and thrown to his death from a tower of the city. The saddest part of the play was when the child's body is brought to his grandmother Hecuba so that she can prepare his little body for burial on his father's war shield. I was close to tears many times: this is an intense work, full of raw emotion that any woman with a heart can feel and understand. On one hand I think seeing a performance of The Trojan Women would be amazing, but I think I would be overwhelmed and not be able to see the stage for my tears. So I will simply re-read it someday. I'm also going to read more Euripides. I have a small volume of three other works of his, but I need to wait a bit before starting with them. I want to let this piece settle first. Ancient Greek myths and legends are something nearly everyone is familiar with, even without in-depth study. I know some names and stories, get mixed up with many others, and remember reading them much more often in my younger days than I have as an adult. I plan to change that. I want to revisit the marvelous confusion of the Greek myths, because this play has reminded me of the fascination they used to have for me. I want to see what I will discover in them at this point in my life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Konstantin

    Probably the most powerful of the Ancient Greek plays I've read so far. If I ever get a chance to try myself in theatre, I would love to direct this.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    As a theater major, I've spent an enormous chunk of my life reading and analyzing classical drama. There was a time when I could have broken down for you in great detail the stylistic differences between the three great Greek dramatists (Aeschylus, Sophocles & Euripides) and the great Greek comic playwright Aristophanes. But since I no longer have to, I won't. I will say that I never took to the other two like I did to Euripides. He was the latest of the three, a product of an evolving social co As a theater major, I've spent an enormous chunk of my life reading and analyzing classical drama. There was a time when I could have broken down for you in great detail the stylistic differences between the three great Greek dramatists (Aeschylus, Sophocles & Euripides) and the great Greek comic playwright Aristophanes. But since I no longer have to, I won't. I will say that I never took to the other two like I did to Euripides. He was the latest of the three, a product of an evolving social concept of the role of theater - instead of making proclamations at the audience, characters had conversations with each other. The language is simpler and less formal, a forerunner to modern drama, and the characters far more human. I fell in love with this play because of how beautifully it depicts loss and grief. The characters are so vibrant and real, and their suffering so clearly depicted, that you forget you're reading something that's like 2500 years old. Even in the crappiest of translations, you feel like these characters are real people that you know, and your heart aches for the horrific things that have happened to them and the bleak gray future ahead of them. The best moment of the whole play to me is a very brief exchange between Hecuba (former queen of Troy, whose husband and sons have all been murdered) and Menelaus (husband of Helen and one of the two Greek kings who led the war against Troy). They are bitter, violent enemies who hate each other and each other's people with a passion that will have consequences for generations. But in this one fleeting moment when Menelaus passes Hecuba on his way back to his ship, dragging Helen with her, they have a moment of connection in their anger towards Helen, who started the whole thing and is responsible for setting in motion the events that led to a ten-year siege and thousands of deaths on both sides. In that moment, as they realize that they both hate Helen more than each other, there's just a sliver of a hint at compassion on both sides, a realization that even though they're enemies, they understand the other's pain in a way that no one else does. Then the moment passes and they're enemies again, but that one moment changes the entire play for me. Gorgeous, heartbreaking stuff. I also recommend "Medea", "The Bacchae" and "Iphegenia at Aulis."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Inkspill

    I had to pause after reading this play. The tragic loss of husband and children from war and cruel circumstances of fate is richly shown through the fallen queen of Troy, Hecuba. The war has ended, Troy has lost, and the surviving women of Troy will be distributed amongst the Greeks as slaves. Even the change in tempo with Cassandra’s matter of fact acceptance of what awaits her does not break the doom. The loss expressed in this play is universal, but there are nuances to do with the story of T I had to pause after reading this play. The tragic loss of husband and children from war and cruel circumstances of fate is richly shown through the fallen queen of Troy, Hecuba. The war has ended, Troy has lost, and the surviving women of Troy will be distributed amongst the Greeks as slaves. Even the change in tempo with Cassandra’s matter of fact acceptance of what awaits her does not break the doom. The loss expressed in this play is universal, but there are nuances to do with the story of Troy that I would have missed without all my recent readings related to this work. This would not matter if I was reading this play for its beauty of poetry or its emotional tug. When Euripides wrote this play, Athens was at war with Sparta. Some of Cassandra’s lines reminded me of the line from Wilfred Owen’s poem, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” or “How sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country”. Not a good comparison as Owen, unlike Cassandra, was mocking the patriotic war cry. Not that it matters, in reality, like the Trojans, Athens will also eventually lose their war. The play also has a scene where a debate is played out over Helen’s fate. Menelaus, Helen’s aggrieved and abandoned husband, listens to both sides. One side is represented by Hecuba, the other by Helen herself. Hecuba argues Helen deserves death for the misery suffered by all. Helen, with all her wit and charm, defends the charge, pleads innocence and points the guilt back to Hecuba and her son Paris. Both their arguments are strong. When they finish Menelaus assures Hecuba Helen will not live, but as they walk away there is something inconclusive about it. I read this with a GR friend, and though we were reading different editions we still managed to discuss this with ease. The translation I read is in poetical form and published by Oxford University Press, Peter Burian translated it. I have now read several Euripides plays from this collection, each one comes with a lengthy essay and notes. I found these essays easier to comprehend as I became familiar with these stories. But what makes this play, and others by Euripides, an enjoyable read for me is how the women are drawn. Here, it’s impossible for me not to empathise with the pain and the courage expressed by these Trojan women though the play was written roughly 24 centuries ago.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott Sebastian

    "O vain is man, Who glorieth in his joy and has no fears: While to and fro the chances of the years Dance like an idiot in the wind! And none By any strength has his own fortune won."

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    A timely warning to the Athenian elite 26 April 2013 I liked one of the short descriptions of this play: a bunch of women wailing and moaning about the significant turn in their life. While that statement may sum this play up, I do not actually think at it gets to the core of what Euripides is exploring, particularly since these women have found themselves on the losing side of a war, which is generally always a bad thing. In the days of Ancient Greece, to be a woman on the losing side of a war p A timely warning to the Athenian elite 26 April 2013 I liked one of the short descriptions of this play: a bunch of women wailing and moaning about the significant turn in their life. While that statement may sum this play up, I do not actually think at it gets to the core of what Euripides is exploring, particularly since these women have found themselves on the losing side of a war, which is generally always a bad thing. In the days of Ancient Greece, to be a woman on the losing side of a war pretty much meant the loss of freedom and a lifetime of sex slavery, and I suspect that that is only when you still have your looks about you: once they are gone I suspect the life gets even worse. This is not necessarily low born women either, though the same probably applies to them. However, as is the case with most plays and other forms of literature, we are dealing with high born people, such as queens and princesses. To them such a radical change in their social status would have been mentally debilitating, and that is something that the Greek Tragedians explore well, the idea of mental anguish. Some have suggested that there is a struggle between the desire to end one's life and the possibility of hope, though the only hope one sees in this play is the hope that the victors suffer as much as the vanquished. Indeed, the Greek generals do have their own trials to face, however most of them make it back to their homes, and freedom (though whether freedom in the form of relying upon slaves to maintain your lifestyle is in fact freedom is another debate for another time). All these women have to look forward to is a life of sexual slavery only to be discarded when their looks are gone. There is no concept of human rights in this period, and while Athens could have been considered a slave's paradise, slaves were little more than property, and the only reason that you kept them fed and sheltered was because good slaves were expensive. There is a contemporary event to which this play relates and that was the sacking of Miletus by the Athenians. Just as the Greeks sacked Troy, killed all of the men and enslaved the women and children, the Athenians did that to Miletus as well. What Euripides is trying to expose is the pain and agony that the citizens, particularly the women, of Miletus would have experienced at the time. It was also a warning to Athens, though one must remember that only the men were allowed to go to the theatre. Still, the war was a long way from being concluded, but Athens had suffered, and was about to suffer, some serious set backs with the disastrous Sicilian expedition, and the plays that were produced after that time clearly demonstrate the loss of hope that the Athenians were facing. If there was any hope at all in the eyes of the Trojan Woman, it would be small and fleeting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Keely

    3.5 stars. I really liked this play. The focus on the women left behind after their husbands were slaughtered and how they each coped with impending slavery or death was done well. Its quite alarming how a play written 2.5 thousand years ago can still be relevant today (in regards to the injustices women suffered and the cons of war).

  13. 4 out of 5

    sologdin

    An irresistible jeremiad against the victors in war, and uncompromising condemnation of imperialism, this text must've pissed off all the right people when originally performed just before the Sicilian Expedition, but after Athens had crushed out the revolt on Mytilene and forcibly annexed Melos, killing off half the populations, with a snap of their fingers, as it were. As with other plays, potentially atheistic Euripides opens with a theophany, wherein Athena and Poseidon, enemies of Troy, "thr An irresistible jeremiad against the victors in war, and uncompromising condemnation of imperialism, this text must've pissed off all the right people when originally performed just before the Sicilian Expedition, but after Athens had crushed out the revolt on Mytilene and forcibly annexed Melos, killing off half the populations, with a snap of their fingers, as it were. As with other plays, potentially atheistic Euripides opens with a theophany, wherein Athena and Poseidon, enemies of Troy, "throw [their] hate away / and change to pity now its walls are black with fire" (59-60). At this point immediately prior to the departure of the thousand black ships from Anatolia, they resolve to destroy the Greeks during their voyages home. Hecuba is on stage the entire text, lamenting repeatedly the "disaster" that has occurred (144, 164, 173, 473, 694, 798), echoed by the chorus of captive Trojans (303, 406). The premise is that the victorious Greeks are allocating the survivors by lot. Andromache attempts to convince herself that "they say one night of love suffices to dissolve / a woman's aversion to share the bed of any man" (665-66), whereas Hecuba contents herself that "there may still be another Troy" (705)--hoping that Hektor's son will be the foundation of the new polis. This hope is dashed when the Greeks declare that infant Astyanax is to be cast from the top of a tower: "Greek cleverness is simple barbarity" (764). At this point, the survivors turn on each other. After Cassandra laments being reduced to Agamemnon's slave, she establishes that Helen "went of her free will, not caught in constraint of violence" (372-73). Hecuba takes up with Menelaus when he charges that Alexander "like a robber carried the woman from my house" (866), demanding "Kill your wife" (890), and "the price of adultery is death" (1032). Helen's defense at her trial by Menelaus is nasty: Alexander was the judge of the goddess trinity. Pallas Athene would have given him power, to lead the Phrygian arms on Hellas and make it desolate. All Asia was Hera's promise, and the uttermost zones of Europe for his lordship, if her way prevailed. But Aphrodite, picturing my loveliness, promised it to him. (923-30) Though Apollodorus, in recounting Eris' apple and the judgment of Paris (Bibliotheka E.3.2), is not as precise as Euripides' Helen here, Hesiod by contrast gives some context to the significance of the judgment: Now [i.e., contemporary to the oath of Tyndareus] all the gods were divided through strife [i.e., Eris]; for at that very time Zeus who thunders on high was meditating marvelous deeds, even to mingle storm and tempest over the boundless earth, and already he was hastening to make an utter end of the race of mortal men, declaring that he would destroy the lives of the demi-gods, that the children of the gods should not mate with wretched mortals, seeing their fate with their own eyes; but that the blessed gods henceforth even as aforetime should have their living and their habitations apart from men. But on those who were born of immortals and of mankind verily Zeus laid toil and sorrow upon sorrow. (Catalog of Women, 68 II 2-13) A divine genocide, not through flood this time, but through war. The depopulation plan that followed upon the Judgment for Aphrodite certainly would have been effected through Judgment for Athene or for Hera, as all disjuncts returned the ground to war. Helen is accordingly a strong proponent of the atheist, or perhaps misotheist, position that gods themselves forced imperialism and war on Troy. When this text gets to Seneca, he makes it even more awful, even though it does not seem possible. As normal, Seneca dispenses with the theophany; though characters refer to deities and religious ideas, the agency is always presented as in human hands. No god, after all, made the Greeks sacrifice Polyxena on Achilles' tomb (to "unlock the sky [resaras polum]" (l. 354))--which Euripides presents as an incidental (having taken it up in his Hecuba specifically--which Seneca handles herein also), but upon which Seneca concentrates all available adjudicatory fire, along with the assassination of juvenile Astyanax. He takes time to note that "This great overthrow of nations [clades gentium], this widespread terror, all these cities wrecked as by a tornado's blast, to another could have been glory and the height of fame; to Achilles they were but deeds upon the way [...] great wars he waged while but preparing for war [tanta gessit bella, dum bellum parat]" (ll. 229-33). Agamemnon recognizes that conquest is one thing, "overthrown and razed to the ground" (ll.278-79) quite another--for which he acknowledges command responsibility: "The blame of all comes back on me; he who, when he may, forbids not sin, commands it" (l. 291). The principal agon is between Neoptolemus (who is the sensible one in the Philoktetes, recall) and Agamemnon (who is sufficiently crazy otherwise to sacrifice his own fucking daughter for the war effort). Whereas Agamemnon urges some restraint ("What the law forbids not, shame forbids be done" (l. 333)), Achilles' son is crazier than a shithouse rat here: "No law spares the captive or stays the penalty" (l. 332). The murder of Astyanax falls to Ulysses, who fears "the crushing weight of his noble birth" (l. 490). Ulysses acts in representative capacity to bring "the voice of all the Grecian chiefs" who "mistrust of uncertain peace" (526 et seq.). For his part, Astyanax goes to his death with stoic composure, whereas Andromache's maternal grief is heartbreaking. Pragmatic Ulysses tires of it all: "There is no limit to her weeping--away with this hindrance to the Argive fleet" (l. 812). (Andromache: "what Colchian, what Scythian of shifting home e'er committed crime like this, or what tribe to law unknown by the Caspian sea has dared it? No blood of children stained the altars of Busiris" (ll. 1104 ff.).) Despite the genocide and the horror of mass child murder and the sexual enslavement of the survivors, we take solace as proper Trojan sympathizers in two things. First, the unhindered Argive fleet will mostly go down in ruin, and those who return to their homes will usually not find them as they left them. Second, Aeneas escapes, as we know, to found Rome with the remnant of Troy, and through the City's historical development will redress this mythical crime, for, according to Seneca's predecessor Virgil, Rome's arts are "to pacify, to impose the rule of law, to spare the conquered, battle down the proud." Though Aeneas is not mentioned in the Troades, Seneca's recitations run parallel to Virgil. We can rest assured that the indictment drafted by Euripides is brought to conclusion in Seneca.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This is a review of the play itself, not this particular translation. I read Roche's translation, which is good but (as has been pointed out by absolutely everyone already) includes made-up stage directions that are somewhat distracting. Trojan Women is an anti-war play, performed in 415 as Athens prepared to go to war with Sicily and in the wake of Athens' brutal conquest of the island of Melos. It takes place directly after the fall of Troy and stars the captured Trojan women, notably Priam's w This is a review of the play itself, not this particular translation. I read Roche's translation, which is good but (as has been pointed out by absolutely everyone already) includes made-up stage directions that are somewhat distracting. Trojan Women is an anti-war play, performed in 415 as Athens prepared to go to war with Sicily and in the wake of Athens' brutal conquest of the island of Melos. It takes place directly after the fall of Troy and stars the captured Trojan women, notably Priam's wife Hecuba, the mad prophetess Cassandra, and that Helen woman. It's a little light on plot; there's mainly a lot of gnashing of teeth and being bummed out, and that's about it. Less of the subversive cleverness that I know and love Euripides for. But it certainly gets its point across: "Of all those seeming to succeed, count no one happy till he is dead."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mohammed

    It might be seen as a minor work of Euripides because its not much of story progress but i rated it highly. Unlike other Greek classic authors he dares to treat war,the women on the losing side of it in a realistic way. What happens to real humans of those days when the legendary battles,wars end, slavery or worse. Aischylos,Sofocles,Homer for example makes war mostly to be about honor,heroism and other male values.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    Given that Troy was really enemy Greek fought against, you have to give credit to these Greek tragicians for showing compassion to them and cruelities of their own peoll

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michael P.

    It is difficult to describe a play so rich in ideas and so deep in feeling. What came through to me this time was lament, lamenting the lives of the beloved dead, lamenting the fall of your state, lamenting the life you once had, and lamenting the life now forced upon you. I doubt that Euripides had feminist issues in mind when writing this work, but it is also interesting to read this with feminist ideas of power and powerlessness in my head. Each new reading brings new ways of understanding th It is difficult to describe a play so rich in ideas and so deep in feeling. What came through to me this time was lament, lamenting the lives of the beloved dead, lamenting the fall of your state, lamenting the life you once had, and lamenting the life now forced upon you. I doubt that Euripides had feminist issues in mind when writing this work, but it is also interesting to read this with feminist ideas of power and powerlessness in my head. Each new reading brings new ways of understanding this superb play, and new ways of understanding my world.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cleo

    A nice complement to The Iliad, that delves deeper into the feelings and emotions of the characters of Hecuba, Andromache, Helen and Menelaus. The reader gets a clear sense of the agony of the women who have lost their husbands, their home, their positons and their honour after the sacking of Troy. A short but enjoyable read!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kay Pelham

    I read this in conjunction with The Literary Life podcast --- https://www.theliterary.life/053/ I highly recommend these podcasts, featuring classicist Thomas Banks, for help in understanding how to read literature of various kinds. The background they give, as well as connections to other works, helps tremendously to bring these stories to life. Don't be surprised if you find yourself in these stories, as ancient as they may be. I read this in conjunction with The Literary Life podcast --- https://www.theliterary.life/053/ I highly recommend these podcasts, featuring classicist Thomas Banks, for help in understanding how to read literature of various kinds. The background they give, as well as connections to other works, helps tremendously to bring these stories to life. Don't be surprised if you find yourself in these stories, as ancient as they may be.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Adams

    Takes place after the fall of Troy and explores the effect the war had on women. A neat take on Helen and her culpability in the whole thing.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tomas

    don taylor has done exactly what I like in versions of greek plays; kept the original structure and tradition but played with the rhythm and language to make it more accessible for contemporary audiences. however, I think he could have striped it back a bit more.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    In times of sorrow it is a comfort to lament, To shed tears, and find music that will voice our grief. In The Women of Troy, not much happens in terms of action or plot; Troy has fallen at the hands of the Greeks, and while the men have been killed, the women await their fate. They will become slaves, this much they know; it only remains to be seen with whom, and in what position, fate (i.e. the Greeks) will place them. Euripides wrote The Women of Troy in part to show his fellow citizens wh In times of sorrow it is a comfort to lament, To shed tears, and find music that will voice our grief. In The Women of Troy, not much happens in terms of action or plot; Troy has fallen at the hands of the Greeks, and while the men have been killed, the women await their fate. They will become slaves, this much they know; it only remains to be seen with whom, and in what position, fate (i.e. the Greeks) will place them. Euripides wrote The Women of Troy in part to show his fellow citizens what they had done to Melos; or rather, to show how they had wronged its people after they captured the island, when the Athenians put to death all male inhabitants, sold all women and children as slaves, and then proceeded to colonized its land. The play is poignant and evocative; the state of the women, once proud Trojans, now debased and on the brink of slavery, is touching. What is especially good, I think, is the moral and psychological complexity that Euripides portrays; Hecabe, widow of the fallen Priam, King of Troy, begins the play in the highest of moral grounds, so to speak – as the widow of the slain king and mother of brave Hector. Yet, while she – understandably –laments the sorry state of both Troy and her own life, with a certain amount of dignity, as soon as she is confronted with Helen, whom she blames for the fall of Troy and everyone dear to her, she shows sign of petty vindictiveness and a desire for revenge that seems at odds with her – at least former – royalty. The character of Helen, particular her central speech, is also ambiguous and open to interpretation. The matters of blame and responsibility for the war are left, to a significant extent, open – at least to the audience (do we side with Helen or with Menelaus and Hecabe?). The play, through this complexity, becomes more than a mere lesson to Euripides’ contemporaries, and more than a simple lamentation of the horrors of war (which, to be fair, would be justified in itself). All through these years the gods had but one end in mind, No other destiny than this for me, and Troy – The one city they chose for their especial hate. Our sacrifices and our prayers have all been vain. Yet, had not heaven cast down our greatness and engulfed All in the earth’s depth, Troy would be a name unknown, Our agony unrecorded, and those songs unsung Which we shall give to poets of a future age. At least there's that.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Artemis

    I've studied, reconstructed, and deconstructed 'The Women of Troy' to death at school for my drama course. It's one of the few reading materials at that time and place in my life that I actually liked. I've visualised the setting, took apart its themes, and imagined feeling the devastating emotions of the characters. I also saw it on stage in London with my class, which helps me to understand it better. 'The Women of Troy' is not a happy play. It is a Greek Tragedy to the core. And I love it. We a I've studied, reconstructed, and deconstructed 'The Women of Troy' to death at school for my drama course. It's one of the few reading materials at that time and place in my life that I actually liked. I've visualised the setting, took apart its themes, and imagined feeling the devastating emotions of the characters. I also saw it on stage in London with my class, which helps me to understand it better. 'The Women of Troy' is not a happy play. It is a Greek Tragedy to the core. And I love it. We all know about war and its terrible consequences and revealings of the truths of human nature. But what of hearing about it from women's perspectives? The ones who are deeply affected by it? What about perceiving it from the POV of the wives and daughters of the men who had fought and died in vain? That is what 'The Women of Troy' by Euripides is about. It's about the women at the fall of Troy losing power and control in their lives. They support one another in such ghastly horrors, or try to in poor Cassandra's case. Jealousy, hatred and fear are rampant. They did not fight or die in the Trojan War like their male loved ones, however the women (queen, princesses and chorus) refuse to lose their identities or their humanity, even when they are shipped off by the Greeks to be sex slaves in other regions at the end of the play. They would prefer to be dead - to end the suffering - but they don't want to lose hope either. The strength of Queen Hecuba is remarkable yet complex, for she has loved and lost as much as the others. She is at their level now, and must adapt to it. The Greek herald Talthybius is also a somewhat sympathetic character. You know he must feel for these women, that he is not like the Greek enemies. But he is only a messenger. Another tragic person doomed to live through his assigned role, like the women. Unlike when I wrote about it in my school exam, typing about 'The Women of Troy' here will not do it justice for me. Read the play, or watch it on stage. Feel the power. Feel the ungodly suffering the women go through in the enemy's hands - in fate's hands - for being Trojans. For being women. Final Score: 5/5

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    An interesting play about the Trojan war and what happens to women during war. It is also about the consequences of women being considered a possessions, something that can be stolen or given as prices. The victors took the women as prices after winning the war. I'm not very well-read when it comes to the war and Helen's part, and i didn't understand whether she had left voluntarily or not, but it didn't seem like it. It reminded me of rape victims that are not taken seriously. However, even if An interesting play about the Trojan war and what happens to women during war. It is also about the consequences of women being considered a possessions, something that can be stolen or given as prices. The victors took the women as prices after winning the war. I'm not very well-read when it comes to the war and Helen's part, and i didn't understand whether she had left voluntarily or not, but it didn't seem like it. It reminded me of rape victims that are not taken seriously. However, even if she did leave voluntarily, her husband, Menelaus, felt he had to steal her back. Of course, he didn't want her back, he just wanted to start a war, killing many people, to make a statement and kill her. Ancient Greece was in many ways a prosperous world, but when it came to women's rights, if Euripides did use real norms in his work, it seems to have been really bad.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Jacobson

    Trigger warning - rape Actual Rating 4.5 This was a required reading for one of my history classes but that didn't stop me from enjoying this brilliant piece of tragedy. Trojan Women is such a melodramatic and masterfully written play. I'm not giving it higher though simply because I didn't feel an emotional attachment to the story. I understand why it is such a brilliant and important piece of theater but that doesn't mean I have to fall in love with the piece. I am glad I read it and I highly Trigger warning - rape Actual Rating 4.5 This was a required reading for one of my history classes but that didn't stop me from enjoying this brilliant piece of tragedy. Trojan Women is such a melodramatic and masterfully written play. I'm not giving it higher though simply because I didn't feel an emotional attachment to the story. I understand why it is such a brilliant and important piece of theater but that doesn't mean I have to fall in love with the piece. I am glad I read it and I highly recommend it!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rosamund

    I was inspired to read this by finishing A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes. It is so long since I read a Greek tragedy I had honestly forgotten how good they can be. This one is startlingly moving about the aftermath of war. Interesting for a playwright working in Athens when it was quite a militarily aggressive state. I actually read the Emily Wilson translation not this one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anand

    Read Emily Wilson’s translation in Greek Plays One of the greatest Greek tragedies I ever read. And on a favorite subject: Trojan War

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lukas Sotola

    A powerful examination of the stupidity of war and its horrifying effects on the innocent, especially women, that simply begs for an operatic adaptation composed by Puccini.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Excellent play by Euripides. It really highlights the costs of war and tragedy that befalls women and children following a brutal war.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This volume includes a very informative introduction, as well as notes, and glossary - all of which are very helpful, in both understanding the context within which the play was composed and the many references in the play to myths, gods, and so forth. The play did not win first prize at the annual theatrical competition held in Athens (perhaps similar to our era's Oscars) although it took second prize; this isn't surprising since it conveys a nearly 100% negative image of the "heroic" Achaeans This volume includes a very informative introduction, as well as notes, and glossary - all of which are very helpful, in both understanding the context within which the play was composed and the many references in the play to myths, gods, and so forth. The play did not win first prize at the annual theatrical competition held in Athens (perhaps similar to our era's Oscars) although it took second prize; this isn't surprising since it conveys a nearly 100% negative image of the "heroic" Achaeans who sailed to Troy to retrieve Helen. Only the herald, Talthybius, comes across as human - the rest of the Greeks, including "heroes" like Odysseus, Agamemnon, Menelaus - are all portrayed as cruel, barbaric, and "blinded" by lust or illusions of honor, into pursuing a ten-year war to obtain a woman, whom they expect to be put to death once captured. Thus, even the "prize" they were supposedly fighting for, is to be turned into nothing. Thus, the whole point of the war, aside from "making a point" that the Trojans cannot be allowed to "get away" with "stealing" Menelaus' wife Helen, is, ultimately, nothing. This is an anti-war play which must have made the Athenians watching it very uncomfortable - given the contemporary events unfolding at the time in Athens. Athens was about to launch the ill-fated Sicilian invasion. Athens had embarked on an imperialist course in the Aegean - transforming the Delian League into its plaything, a compact for its own benefit. The unending scramble among Greek city-states for supremacy continued - leading to the disunity in the Greek peninsula that made it so easy for Greece to be conquered later on by the Macedonians. The sort of barbaric idiots who insist on war, using any pretext - including fighting for a woman they even characterize as a "slut" - resulted in the subsuming of Greece, the subjugation of the nation of Greece as a province within larger empires since the time of the Macedonian expansion under Philip and Alexander. The "big mouths" and egos of the Greeks led to their undoing. Perhaps this play was a sort of warning to the Greeks - although obviously Euripides would have no way of knowing what was to come for Greece - that the hubris of war waged on a purely irrational basis, whipped up for the slightest pretext, or based on an exaggerated notion of honor - leads to the nemesis of eventual destruction, and that the "penalty" for this hubris, the nemesis, cannot be avoided. Euripides thus turns the cornerstones of the Greeks' touchstone of their self-regard - the Homeric poems - inside out. The "heroic" Greeks - celebrated a million times in legend, on vase painting, on friezes of temples, on lifelike sculptures and no doubt exquisite paintings - are seen to be cruel barbarians, destroying Troy over a "prize" they intended to destroy anyway, for the sake of "honor" or even more basely, "booty." The gods are about the punish the Greeks by making their return journey home miserable; thus, the "adventures" of the Odyssey can be read as the "just punishment" of the gods imposed on just one crew making its journey home - the commander, Odysseus, having taken as his slave the fallen Trojan queen Hecuba, along with her curses upon him and all the Greeks. Perhaps the Homeric poems did convey this "moral" to the Greeks, who otherwise appear to be lacking in an ethical foundation insofar as their myths celebrate vengeance, blood-thirstiness, and so forth: Hubris, or what we might call today "sin" of waging a vengeful and unjust war, results in the nemesis or "punishment" of the downfall of commander after commander afterwards, as the gods "get their revenge" for various arrogant insults against them, such as the taking of Trojan virgin priestess Cassandra as a sex slave by Achilles' son, and the unjust sacrifice of Iphigenia prior to setting sail - if not for the entire enterprise of the war, waged to regain a prize that the Greeks want destroyed anyway. The above may seem simplistic - no doubt the Greeks of those days didn't view the story of the Trojan war and its aftermath as a moral tale. Instead, it must have been seen then as it is often depicted in movies today: A heroic battle, followed by the struggles of a clever hero, who finally reaches home, puts his house in order, and is reunited with his faithful wife Penelope, the antithesis of Helen. If the play describes the aftereffects of the battle for Troy, the beguiling power of Helen - who does not lose an iota of her composure and hauteur in her discussion with the devastated Hecuba - is also a focus of the play. The theatergoers of course would have known that Helen is not in the end put to death by her husband Menelaus. Helen's "explanation" for what happened - her running off with handsome Paris while Menelaus had traveled to Crete - because Aphrodite had appeared with Paris and ensnared Helen with irrational love for Paris, didn't really convince Menelaus in the play. It doesn't matter though, since Helen's charms, no matter who was wrong, who was victimized, whether Helen is lying or telling the truth, again "win" over Menelaus, and as we know, the half-divine Spartan queen, a daughter of Zeus and a mortal woman, does eventually return to her homeland and resume her place as Menelaus' spouse in the palace of Sparta. Obviously, the "moral" of the story of Helen, is that no man, not even her ridiculously "wronged" husband, can resist her - she always gets her way because of the power of her looks, composure, and no doubt many times lying words. The problem Helen embodies is the problem of the irrational - in her case, lust - vs. logic. Logic would have written off Helen's departure/abduction from Sparta, but logic never drove men's affairs. Instead, Menelaus was driven by "honor" to organize the expedition to Greece, invoking the alliance of the Greek states to assist one another in warfare if one of them were wronged. Was Menelaus wronged? His wife ran off with a prince he was hosting. Perhaps this violation of the inviolate Greek notion of hospitality/honor did translate in Menelaus' mind as a transgression that could only be corrected by retrieving his wife and punishing Paris. But did this one drama of a wife leaving her husband, really merit starting an invasion of Asia by the Greeks - or were they all really blinded by her, did lust for her turn them into barbarians, despite their "pretensions" to civilization. The Greeks ripped off whatever they could steal from Troy, including female slaves, after killing all the Trojan defenders. They did retrieve Helen. Was this what they were fighting for - for ten years - "booty?" Euripides' play is harrowing and it can only be imagined what it may have been like to view it enacted as it would have been by masked actors, perhaps accentuating the horror of the disasters that befell the female Trojan captives in the course of the play. It no doubt made the audience think and consider what it means to crush an enemy, for what? To gain the upper hand, to rob them, and take them into slavery? Unfortunately, this instructive play, which invites the viewer to look at the "heroic" age from the vantage point of the conquered, and to question what was the point of destroying Troy - is gaining booty "worth" the destruction of an entire nation - perhaps, what's the point of war based on greed - didn't lead the Greeks to mend their ways. They never abandoned their warlike ways, constantly fighting among themselves - until, divided and weakened, they too were conquered by Macedon and later, Rome. The "lesson" of Troy - that the Greeks once did unite to fight a common enemy, was only duplicated in the struggle vs. Persia. Otherwise, disunity and warfare among the Greek states was ongoing, and led eventually to the conquest of the Greek peninsula and archipelago.

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