Trojan Trilogy

The scene is a holding camp by the sea.  It is the morning after the capture of Troy.  The Trojan men have been massacred, the women and children rounded up prior to their being shipped off to slavery.

Among them is Hekabe and other members of the ruling family: her daughter, Cassandra, and her son Hector’s widow, Andromache.  Both are led away, but not before Cassandra prophesies calamity for the victorious Greeks, and Andromache’s infant son, Astyanax, is taken from her arms.  Odysseus has decreed that the child must die, thrown from the walls of Troy.

When Menelaus arrives to fetch his errant wife, Helen, for whose sake the Greeks have fought the war, Hekabe sees her chance for vengeance, persuading Menelaus to set up an ad hoc court of law.  But Helen’s beauty and poise, coupled with the perceived unfairness of Hekabe’s attack on her undermine Menelaus’ resolve, and it is clear that he will forgive her.

To the already crushed Hekabe is returned the dead body of her grandson Astyanax.  She mourns him, but in doing so realises that, even if its people are no more, Troy’s fame will last for ever, and the play ends in triumphant defiance.

Trojan Women

Finale from the first reading of Palamedes,

The British Museum, London, 27th April 2007