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The Trojan Women
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  1. The Trojan Women January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  2. January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  3. Euripides • playwright, librettist, composer, choreographer, producer, but not chief actor • born about 480 bce, probably Salamis, of well-to-do family • lived Athens? Left 408 for Macedonian court, where died 496 • A recluse, not active in public life, unlike predecessors, not personally popular • author of 92 plays; 16 tragedies, 1 satyr play survive • Only 5 victories (20 plays) January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  4. Euripides’ Subjects • tragedies, tragi-comedies, romantic drama • episodic plots in comedies • reworking of familiar material • new popular style of music highly emotional • women in love, babies, children • emotions, passions, madness • social subjects seen from personal point of view January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  5. Other Features • emotionalism • sententiousness • pathos • rhetoric • used 3rd actor, added first by Sophocles • Most influential of surviving playwrights: Seneca adopted these features and passed them on to the Renaissance • reduced role of chorus January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  6. The Trojan Women • 415 bce • fifteenth year of Peloponnesian wars • Immediately after destruction of Melos • third play of trilogy: Alexander, Palamedes, Troades, Sisyphus • background familiar from Iliad • playwright’s second Hecuba play • Trojan point of view • anti-Homeric view January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  7. Elements of typical tragedy • Plot of exceptional suffering and calamity • Characters ones-like-ourselves • Thought • nature of human nature • conditions of human life • consequences of wrongdoing or sin January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  8. Plot • based on legend/history of Trojan War • plot of suffering, not of action • serious threat to life or well-being of protagonist • carried out • episodes divided by four choral odes January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  9. Prologue • Poseidon, Athena, Hecuba provide exposition • and establish thought • Troy’s glories contrasted with its present state • moral, ethical, social, religious framework established January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  10. Prologue: “so soon to die themselves.” • women and children slaughtered • virgin priestess Cassandra violated and to be forced into concubinage: Athena is angry • Poseidon: fools waste cities, violate the sacred, “so soon to die themselves.” • gods must abandon the city: no worshippers left January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  11. Prologue: “This is no longer Troy. • Hecuba: “this is no longer Troy,” we no longer lords, the mourning song replaces all earlier songs. • Barbarism and sacrilege of the victors will be punished. January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  12. Parados • Chorus of captive Trojan women • horrors of war • mourning, fear for future, fear of unknown destination • somber, dirge-like poetic rhythm • danced in same vein • sets mood, ethical, social, historical framework for events January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  13. January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  14. Episode 1 • Talthybius, an Argive herald • news of who is to go to which victor male • Cassandra: “she is god’s.” • Cassandra’s mad, macabre dance of Hymen—while planning to kill the “groom” • Futility of war: for the Greek women, “in their homes are sorrows, too, the very same.” • Prophecy of Odysseus’ sorrows to come. • Hecuba: “count no one happy before he dies.” “all this misery, and all to come, because a man desired a woman.” January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  15. Ode 1 • song to the death of Troy • their own complicity, explicit in their bringing in the horse • The horse statue intended as a gift for Athena January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  16. Episode 2: Andromache • Andromache’s very young son, Astyanax, the only hope for the future • Andromache, Hecuba mourn for city, husbands, sons, freedom • but the dead don’t suffer • domestic level: Hecuba’s advice on managing her new master • Talthybius announces death for Astyanax • even this victor pities the mother and is shamed by the murder to come January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  17. Ode 2 • recalls a previous sack of Troy, also by Greeks • contrasts lives of Greeks and ruined Trojans • announces Athena’s desertion of the Trojan cause January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  18. Episode 3: Menelaus and Helen • Helen’s defense ignoble • Hecuba’s response: • Women call for Helen’s death • Menelaus agrees • Hecuba warms against his taking Helen in his own ship January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  19. Ode 3 • mourning for their losses: festivals, city • does the god even notice? • sorrow for unburied husbands, their own coming slavery, bereaved children to be enslaved • prayer that Menelaus’ ship may never reach home January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  20. Episode 4: Funeral of Astyanax • Astyanax’ body brought to his grandmother, along with Hector’s shield • news that Achilles son and Andromache have sailed for Greece • Funeral conducted by the women January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  21. Ode 4 • Song of the Dead • interrupted by Hecuba’s vision: • “in heaven—there is nothing there for us, only my miseries, only hate for Troy, most hated of cities.” • exit of funeral procession January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  22. Episode 5 • very brief • Talthybius orders torching of Troy • orders women to march to ships • orders Hecuba to go with Odysseus’ men Exodos Hecuba and Chorus mourn in alternating verses. January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  23. Characters • eight speaking, played by three actors: • Poseidon and Athena • four royal Trojan women • Argive men: Talthybius, Menelaus • of them, five appear only once. • non-speaking soldiers • non-speaking child • women suffer, men act January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  24. Thought • irony of successful wrongdoing of Argives • pathos of women’s situation and death of child • everyone suffers, including the Argive victors • dehumanization of war • moral indifference of gods • futility, horror and degradation of war, viewed internally January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  25. Performance Circumstances • festival situation of City Dionysia • (others Lenea, Rural Dionysias) • state support • also support of wealthy patrons (choregoi) January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  26. State support • theatre • prizes • poets' honoraria • actors fees, costumes January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  27. Choregos • civic, religious duty and privilege • chorus fee, training, costumes • flute player • extras, as for the procession January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  28. Production Process • festival controlled by chief civil magistrate: public authority • choregoi chosen by lot in July: private cooperation • Poet: producer-director+ • cast actors (until 449) • trained chorus, including choreography and singing • conducted rehearsals • played lead January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  29. City Dionysia of 458 BCE • March or early April • procession of cult statue from temple to Academy • sacrifices, rituals • two days of dithyrambs, ending with processions and revels • five comedies • three days of tragedies with satyr plays January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  30. Audience • 15-17 thousand, mostly males, • of population 200,000 + 50,000 resident foreigners • privileged had honored seats, with backs, • others merely stone benches • admission free • participants in a religious rite • spectators at an entertainment • citizens at a civic festival, excitable, voluble, volatile, and knowledgeable January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  31. January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  32. Actors and Acting • male amateurs, but increasingly dominant performance element • highly trained, especially vocally • emphasis enunciation, resonance, flexibility • doubling, even tripling • males played all roles • praised for naturalness, not to be confused with naturalism January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  33. Music and dancing January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  34. Likely only 3 actors January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  35. Theatre buildings: state public facilities • evidence • important theatres • general features • Theatre of Dionysus at Athens January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  36. Evidence • few records of theatre buildings • architectural remains • theatres frequently remodeled and reconstructed during and after the fifth century January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  37. Important Theatres • Theatre at Thorikos very early • Theatre of Dionysus in Athens most frequent performance site • Theatre of Epidauros especially well-preserved January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  38. Palace of Knossos, Crete January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  39. General Characteristics • sacred shrines, at least at festival times • located all over the Greek world • including Greek colonies in Asia Minor • built in natural bowls January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  40. three elements • orchestra circle • skene or scene house • auditorium January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  41. Theatre at Epidauros January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  42. Theatre of Dionysus in Athens • first performances of tragedy in 534 BCE • earliest, audience seated on hillside • flat dancing place supported by retaining wall, backfill • perhaps altar South side, opposite audience • small temple of Dionysus Eleuthereus January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  43. Conjectural reconstruction January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  44. City of Athens January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  45. Auditorium of mid-fifth century • wooden benches (early century) • separated from skene by paradoi • curves around orchestra • audience, chorus entered through paradoi January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  46. Stone auditorium (330 BCE) • Divided into 13 blocks by 12 stairways January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  47. Orchestra or dancing place • perhaps rectangular in earliest theatre • likely circular by time of Agamemnon • 66' diameter January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  48. Skene or scene building. • earliest, hut or tent for changing • no building required prior to 458 BCE, Orestia • probably temporary wooden structure at one side of orchestra • different from festival to festival? • set in stone after 430 January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  49. Temporary skene for Women • possibly paraskenia • unknown number of doors, perhaps 3-5 • roof for watchman • later stone theatre (about 330 B.C.) had paraskenia and 5 doors. • perhaps 2 stories, permanent or temporary January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco

  50. Acting place or "stage" • possibly none other than the orchestra • possibly broad steps in front of skene • no evidence of raised stage prior to late 4th century BCE • no evidence of high raised stage prior to mid-2nd century January 21, 2008 Virginia R. Francisco