Lecture 14-Tragedy and Thucydides' view of war (February 25)

Lecture 14-Tragedy and Thucydides' view of war (February...

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Tragedy and Thucydides’ view of war
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The Trojan Women Produced in 415 BC Main Human characters are: Hecuba (queen of Troy); Cassandra (her daughter, with gift of prophecy); Andromache (widow of Hector); Helen (aka Helen of Troy) Talthybius (herald); Menelaus (husband of Helen) Divine characters are Athena and Poseidon (really mad because of the rape of Cassandra) Act 1: Hecuba and Chorus of Trojan Women Talthybius announces departures, then Cassandra (to Agamemnon) Departures (2) Andromache describes death of Polyxena, learns of the death of Astyanax, given to Neoptolemus; she wishes to bury the child, but cannot, body given to Hecuba Departures (3) Helen Departures (4) Hecuba
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Does it make a difference that the Audience knows the fate of the Greeks (80-90)? Athena: Once they leave Troy and set sail for their country. Zeus will let loose a deluge of frenzied rain and hail and all the turbulent black winds he can muster upon them. He said he’ll give me his lightning bolt to strike at all the Greek ships. Set them all on fire. As for you, I want you to stir the Aegean waters into huge cyclones and typhoons, fill the Euboean gulf with floating corpses. Let them learn a lesson about honouring sacred temples! Poseidon: All this shall be done. No need to waste more words upon it. I shall make turbulent all the waters of the Aegean Sea and hurl many corpses upon the cape of Mykonos and upon the wild crags of Delos and Lemnos and all those jagged points of Kafirea. But now, Athena, leave! Go up to Mount Olympus, the gods’ abode and get the lightning bolts from the hands of our father, Zeus. Then wait until the Greeks set sail. Off you go!
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Cassandra (350-70) And, mother, if I give you any resistance in this, if I hold back at all, then drag me there by force! Use force on me, mother use force on me because I swear by Apollo that my marriage to Agamemnon, to that… sarcastically … glorious king of the Greeks, will come to an end more bitter than that of Menelaos and Helen! I will kill him, mother! I will destroy his city, mother and I will avenge the murders of my father and my brothers! But enough of this lament for now. I will not tell now of the axe that will fall upon my neck and upon the neck of others. Nor will I tell about the matricide that my marriage will cause or the destruction of the house of Atreus. I will show them that our city is more blessed than any city in Greece, mother! I know, I know! I am in the grips of the divine madness! I know that! But I will now move out of this madness for a short while so that I can tell the story. These Greeks have killed thousands of people! Why? Because of one woman and her unbridled lust! Because they wanted Helen back!
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Cassandra (370-80) And, mother, if I give you any resistance in this, if I hold back at all, then drag me there And their leader –what a wise man their leader is! In his efforts to destroy what he hated, he destroyed what he loved! He killed his own daughter, mother! He sacrificed his little Iphigeneia, mother!
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