The Trojan Women of Euripides, Euripides
The Trojan Women of Euripides
Euripides
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The Trojan Women, also known by its transliterated Greek title Troades, is a tragedy by the Greek playwright Euripides. Produced in 415 BC during the Peloponnesian War, it is often considered a commentary on the capture of the Aegean island of Melos and the subsequent slaughter and subjugation of its populace by the Athenians earlier that year. Euripides's play follows the fates of the women of Troy after their city has been sacked, their husbands killed, and their remaining families taken away as slaves. 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 Trojan Women of Euripides

by
Euripides


Characters in the Play

The God Poseidon.

The Goddess Pallas Athena.

Hecuba, Queen of Troy, wife of Priam, mother of Hector and Paris.

Cassandra, daughter of Hecuba, a prophetess.

Andromache, wife of Hector, Prince of Troy.

Helen, wife of Menelaüs, King of Sparta; carried off by Paris, Prince of Troy.

Talthybius, Herald of the Greeks.

Menelaus, King of Sparta, and, together with his brother Agamemnon, General of the Greeks.

Soldiers attendant on Talthybius and Menelaus.

Chorus of Captive Trojan Women, young and old, maiden and married.

The Troädes was first acted in the year 415 B.C. “The first prize was won by Xenocles, whoever he may have been, with the four plays Oedipus, Lycaön, Bacchae and Athamas, a Satyr-play. The second by Euripides with the Alexander, Palamêdês, Troädes and Sisyphus, a Satyr-play.” — Aelian, Varia Historia, ii. 8.


The Trojan Women

The scene represents a battlefield, a few days after the battle. At the back are the walls of Troy, partially ruined. In front of them, to right and left, are some huts, containing those of the Captive Women who have been specially set apart for the chief Greek leaders. At one side some dead bodies of armed men are visible. In front a tall woman with white hair is lying on the ground asleep.

It is the dusk of early dawn, before sunrise. The figure of the god Poseidon is dimly seen before the walls.

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