The Trojan Women To the ancient Greeks the Siege of Troy was the greatest and most important event in the Age of Heroes; that age of wonder when the Immortals who dwelt on Olympus and whom they worshipped as gods, mingled with mankind and took a visible part in their affairs. The end of Troy marks the place where legend ends and history begins (Green, 11). The line between fantasy and reality is sometimes difficult to grasp, leaving historians questionable of the actualities of the battle of Troy, better yet the women. This is where Euripides explores the devastating features of the post-war landscape in The Women of Troy (Meltzer, 234). His strong pacifist and feminist opinions are highlighted repeatedly throughout the UTSC production through the environment of extreme cruelty and torment after war; an environment without a gleam of hope, especially for women. Such Greek tragedies were usually based on the concepts outlined in The Poetics of Aristotle, a document in which Aristotle describes the guidelines for writing plays. One of the necessities that Aristotle describes in order to have a good tragedy is the presence of catharsis, the relief of emotions by a piece of art (Else, 14). Euripides along with the UTSC production conveys the post-war surroundings of extreme suffering and torment as well as depictions of the gods, mainly through Hecabe, the widow of the Troy’s King Priam and the only living symbol of Troy (Green, 55). Euripides based the play on the myths and legends about the Trojan War, familiarly in reference to Homer’s Iliad (Fagles, 3). In fact Archeological and historical evidence suggests that the war actually took place, probably between 1350 and 1100 BC. However, ancient storytellers mythologized the events before, during, and after the war, suggesting gods and goddesses took sides and even interfered in battles to affect the outcome of the war and the fates of heroes (Green, 22). The storytellers also exaggerated or fabricated the deeds of Greek and Trojan warriors. One thing to note about Euripides is that, for all his mythical outlining, he was writing directly about current events. When The Women of Troy was first performed, in 415BC, Athens was stuck in the Peloponnesian Wars with Sparta and was about to launch its disastrous excursion to conquer Sicily, an invasion that ended with the embarrassing defeat of Athens in 404BC. In the various conflicts, Euripides had plenty opportunity to observe the cruelty with which each side treated its civilian captives: most commonly, the men were put to death and the women and children enslaved (sometimes this happened to entire cities) (Meltzer, 249). This UTSC production depicts that the invading Greeks have defeated the Trojan men. Now, the women of royal and noble descent wait to find out what their individual fates will be: whether they will be killed, married off to Greek soldiers, or taken as slaves. These are strong women, wearing dark clothes, determined to keep their dignity and identity. One of the highlights of the play is a rallying speech made to cheer them, extolling the great life they led in Troy under Queen Hecabe. In connection Euripides expresses the inhumanity following the war through the faceless nature of the choices being made by the Greek soldiers and the chorus description of the immoral deeds they have performed. These gruesome and heartless acts are used show his political statement of the inhumane horrors after a war, especially on women. The women are treated as they are less than human by their abductors which emphasizes the post-war landscape of intense suffering, and have nothing but a falseness of hope to cling to. Additionally, he uses the chorus to revive the depiction of suffering through its cruel destiny that has been chosen by the Greeks who are portrayed as cold-hearted people that would fight using any tactic moral or immoral, and treat the women of...
Cited: Dejanikus, Tacie. "The Trojan Woman." Off Our Backs 2.5 (1972): 9. Jstor. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.
Else, Gerald Frank. Aristotle: Poetics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1967. Print.
Euripides. The Trojan Women. The Plays of Euripides. Trans. E. P. Coleridge. Vol. 1. London: George Bell and Sons, 1891. N. pag. The Perseus Project. Ed. Gregory Crane. Tufts U. Web. April, 1st, 2013.
Fagles, Robert, and Bernard Knox. The Iliad. New York, N.Y., U.S.A.: Viking, 1990. Print.
Green, Roger Lancelyn, and Pauline Baynes. The tale of Troy: retold from the ancient authors. London: Puffin, 1994. Print.
Meltzer, Gary. ""Where Is the Glory of Troy?" "Kleos" in Euripides ' "Helen"." Classical Antiquity 13.2 (1994): 234-255. Jstor. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.
Scherer, Margaret. "Helen of Troy." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art , 1967. 367-383. Print.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document