Unformatted text preview: The Aftermath of the Trojan The Aftermath of the Trojan War in Athenian Tragedy
Euripides’ Trojan Women 04/20/09 Aftermath of Wars in Greek History Aftermath of Wars in Greek History
Questions to consider: What happens to the soldiers? What happens to the generals? What happens to the winning side? What happens to the losing side, especially noncombatants? Aftermath of Wars in Greek Aftermath of Wars in Greek Mythology Aftermath of the War of the Seven against Thebes: downfall of the house of Cadmus, conflict between Thebes and other cities; no effect on noncombatants of losing side Aftermath of the Trojan War: destruction of Troy; enslavement of noncombatants; hardships of Greek heroes in coming home; end of Age of Heroes Euripides Aftermath of the Trojan War in Aftermath of the Trojan War in Athenian Tragedy Focus on aftermath of war for noncombatants Representation of Trojans in positive light, while the Greeks are shown as villains Andromache (ca. 425 BC) Hecuba (ca. 424 BC) Trojan Women (415 BC) Iphigenia at Tauris (414 BC) Helen (412 BC) Second place at the Great Dionysia in 415 Euripides’ Trojan Women Euripides’ BC (first place went to one Xenocles!) Melos – defeated by Athens in 415 BC Atypical structure: dialogues of two gods opens the play; gods absent from the rest of the play Virtual absence of male characters on stage The men offstage, however, still accomplish most of the action discussed in the play Role of the gods in war and aftermath of war Savagery of the Greeks towards non Trojan Women: Main Concerns Trojan Women combatants (Hecuba, Andromache and Astyanax, Polyxena, Cassandra): human sacrifice; execution of noncombatants Who suffered most in the war? Greeks or Trojans? Heroes or noncombatants? Civilization vs. Barbarism: who are the barbarians here? Is Helen to blame for the war and its atrocity or not? Trojan Women: Characters Trojan Women Poseidon and Athena Hecuba Chorus of Trojan women Andromache Cassandra Helen Talthybius Menelaus Intro by Poseidon: graphic description of Troy in Trojan Women: Plot Trojan Women ruins, and what befell its inhabitants N.B. Poseidon seems to have been on the side of the Trojans here; in Homer, Poseidon supports the Greeks Poseidon says goodbye to Troy; blames Athena for its destruction Dialogue of Poseidon and Athena: Athena’s plan to punish Greeks for impiety The sacred groves are abandoned. The shrines of the gods run with human blood. On the steps of the altar of Zeus the Protector, Priam lies dead. All the gold, all the spoils of Phrygia are being transported to the Achaean ships. They are now waiting for a following wind: after ten winters and summers they yearn to see their wives and children, those Greeks that came in war against this city (p. 197) Poseidon’s Speech Poseidon’s Speech I too, vanquished by Hera the Argive goddess and Athena, who united to destroy the Phrygians, now leave the famous Ilium and my altars. When the evil of desolation overtakes a city, a blight falls on the cult of the gods; they delight no more in their worship. Scamander echoes to the loud wailings of multitudes of captured women being allotted their masters… All the Trojan women that are not to be assigned by lot are within these tents, specially picked for the first men of the army. With them is the daughter of Tyndareus, Helen the Laconian, rightly regarded as a captive woman (p. 198). Poseidon’s Speech (cont.) Poseidon’s Speech (cont.) Atrocities of War (Iliou Persis) Atrocities of War ( Final words by a god in this play: “The mortal is mad who sacks cities and desolates temples and tombs, the holy places of the dead; his own doom is only delayed” (p. 200). Dialogue of Poseidon and Athena points audience into false direction regarding plot of the play: their plan is NOT fulfilled in this play; this play only shows the fates of the captive women! Poseidon’s warning Poseidon’s warning Plot II Plot II Hecuba’s speech; blames Helen Dialogue of Hecuba with chorus: chorus mentions by name features of local topography, as it says farewell to Troy Talthybius comes to announce the news about the assignment of women Cassandra assigned to Agamemnon Polyxena assigned to tomb of Achilles (dead) Andromache assigned to Neoptolemus Hecuba assigned to Odysseus Problems with assignment of women Problems with assignment of women Cassandra – priestess; sacred virgin Polyxena – human sacrifice Andromache – assignment of widow of Hector to the son of the man who killed Hector Hecuba – assigned to the man she hates the most : “An abominable, treacherous scoundrel I have got for master, an enemy of justice, a lawless beast, whose double tongue twists all things up and down and down and up, who turns every friends to hate…” Cassandra imagines she is about to be Plot III Plot III married; predicts that her marriage = revenge Describes the horrors of the Trojan war both for participants and their families left behind Talthybius (and everyone else) assume Cassandra isn’t all there Hecuba bemoans her fate: she was a queen with many children, but now she has lost everything “Unhappy woman that I am, what a present, what a future, and all because of one woman’s marriage” But I will show that our city is more fortunate than the Achaeans… For the sake of one woman and one woman’s passion, the Greeks went chasing after Helen and perished in their thousands. Their general, their clever general, to help those he should hate most, sacrificed the dearest thing he owned; his own child, the joy of his house, he gave up for his brother; and that for a woman, who had not been carried off by force, but had left home willingly (p. 206) Cassandra’s condemnation of the war Cassandra’s condemnation of the war Then after they had come to the banks of Scamander, they met their deaths, not resisting any encroachments on their border lands nor in defence of their towering cities. Those that Ares took never saw their children; no wives’ hands wrapped them in their cerements; they lie in a foreign land. And back home the misery was no less: widows dying lonely, old men left childless in their halls, the sons they reared serving others, none to visit their graves and them blood offerings. This is the praise the expedition has earned… Of their crimes it is better to say nothing; may my muse never lend her voice to sing of evil things (p. 206) Cassandra’s speech (cont.) Cassandra’s speech (cont.) As for the Trojans, what fame could be more glorious than theirs? They died for their country… Hector’s fate brought you grief, but hear the truth of it; he is gone, but he lived long enough to win a hero’s fame. And it was the coming of the Achaeans that brought this to pass. If they had stayed at home, his virtues would have remained unknown. Paris, too, married the daughter of Zeus. If he had not done so, nobody would have heard of him or the bride in his house (p. 207) Cassandra on the Trojans’ fame Cassandra on the Trojans’ fame “It comes to this: if a man is wise he will shun war. But if war must come, it is a crown of honor for a city to perish in a good cause; in an evil cause there is infamy” (p. 207) Cassandra: Condemnation of Cassandra: Condemnation of War Talthybius’ reaction to Cassandra’s speech: bewildered that Agamemnon wants Cassandra so much Andromache arrives and informs Hecuba about Plot III Plot III Polyxena’s death (H. didn’t get the hint Talthybius dropped earlier) Andromache bewails her fate and its unfairness: she was a good wife, and didn’t deserve such fate Talthybius brings the news that Astyanax has been condemned to death; Odysseus’ role in it Menelaus arrives on stage; announces his decision to postpone executing Helen until they get home Hecuba advises Menelaus not to look at Plot IV Plot IV Helen – her looks bewitch all who see her Reunion of Helen and Menelaus Hecuba proposes that Menelaus give Helen a fair trial, and offers to be the prosecutor Menelaus grants the request as a favor to Hecuba Helen and Hecuba then deliver speeches for defense and prosecution Blames Hecuba and Priam for giving birth to Helen’s Defense Speech Helen’s Defense Speech Paris, and not killing him as baby Judgment of Paris Blames Menelaus for allowing Paris in his home Blames Aphrodite for bewitching her to flee home After Alexander (Paris)’ death, Helen wanted to return to the Greeks, but was not allowed Defends the goddesses; argues that judgment Hecuba’s Prosecution Speech Hecuba’s Prosecution Speech of Paris never happened! Argues that Helen simply went crazy over Paris’ beauty Helen wanted to be somewhere wealthier than Sparta (stab at historic Sparta and its austerity) Helen had plenty of opportunities to run away from Troy, but never took them “Make this law for all other women: the woman who betrays her husband dies” Menelaus seems convinced by Hecuba’s Plot V (the end) Plot V (the end) speech; condemns Helen to die by stoning upon return to Greece Chorus accuses Zeus and the gods of betraying the Trojans Talthybius brings Astyanax’ body on Hector’s shield for Hecuba to bury The chorus mourns Astyanax and themselves Chorus hears the citadel collapse from afar, and heads to the ships of the Greeks Hecuba: Tragic Heroine Hecuba: Tragic Heroine Takes place in Thrace, rather than Troy Ghost of Polydorus opens the play Hecuba attempts to beg the Greek Euripides’ Hecuba Euripides’ commanders to spare Polyxena; Odysseus refuses Body of Polydorus found Hecuba gets Agamemnon’s permission to exact her revenge on Polydorus’ killer Invites Polymestor and his sons to her tent for a bloodbath (blinds P.; kills his sons) P. prophecies the future; Hecuba’s metamorphosis Atrocities against noncombatants during the Why is Euripides so interested in these Why is Euripides so interested in these myths? Peloponnesian War Interest in human nature, and effect of war on human nature An individual’s true nature revealed not in how he treats his equals, but in how he treats those weaker Homer’s heroes flunk the test Heroic code suited only for war; not helpful in sorting out aftermath of war Euripides’ plays about Trojan war and its aftermath portray war more realistically ...
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- Spring '08
- Greek Mythology, Helen, Menelaus, Trojan Women