Classics Euripides’ Trojan Women
by
N. T. Croally
  • LAST MODIFIED: 22 February 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0299

Introduction

First performed in 415 BCE, possibly as part of a trilogy (or even a tetralogy), The Trojan Women is a remarkable play, which has drawn both admiration and criticism from classical scholars and theatrical practitioners. While the play has never been quite as popular or glamorous as Medea, or Hippolytus, or Bacchae, critics have nevertheless been drawn to it for a number of reasons: for the grim uniqueness of its mise-en-scène, for its stark representation of the effects of war (often applied to contemporary wars in 20th- and 21st-century productions), for its extreme examination of crucial Athenian values, for the pathos of the Trojan women’s situation, for the startling and anomalous appearance (in both senses) of Helen, for its occasionally giddying rhetoric, for its often beautiful language and imagery, for its tone—both relentless and inconsistent—for its sophisticated adaptation of Homer, and for its pervasive self-awareness. The prologue, spoken by the god Poseidon, is followed by an exchange between Poseidon and Athena. Following that is a monody sung by Hecuba, itself followed by a parodos delivered by both Hecuba and the chorus. The rest of the play has episodes (scenes in which actors speak) alternating with choral lyrics. All this is apparently conventional. However, while divine prologues are not unusual in Euripides (there are four other instances in the extant plays), a conversation between two gods is something of a novelty. Hecuba is on stage from the very beginning of the play and remains there mainly prostrate and/or in lamentation until the very end, a constant reminder of the dreadful effects of war. Such a constant presence is unusual. The play is dominated by women. The chorus remains on stage with Hecuba once it enters to deliver the parodos. Each episode is an exchange or confrontations between Hecuba and another individual woman, first Cassandra, then Andromache and finally Helen. This is most certainly a little-seen structural feature. In addition, only two men appear, one the Greek herald Talthybius, the other Menelaus in the agon scene (in which he says very little). No other 5th-century tragedy has so many lines spoken by women; no other 5th-century tragedy limits three of its most important characters to individual episodes. The play’s structural peculiarities have made some critics rate the play as second-rate. However, any viewing of a good production should persuade us that this is a play of extreme emotional power.

General Overviews

There are not many monographs concerned with The Trojan Women. Croally 1994 and Goff 2009 are the best introductions, though the latter is more concerned with reception. (Willis 2005, cited under Reception in Recent Times, is entirely concerned with reception.) Listed below are some important works about Euripides in more general terms. Barlow 2008 and Rutherford 2012 have a great deal of interest to say about the language of tragedy in a formal sense. Gregory 1991 is, again, a wide-ranging book with much to say about Euripides generally. Koniaris 1973 and Scodel 1980 are the two most detailed studies of whether The Trojan Women was part of either a trilogy or a tetralogy. For information concerning the biography of Euripides, the dating of his plays, bibliography and reference works, scholia, manuscripts, and textual tradition, concordances, see the separate Oxford Bibliographies in Classics article Euripides.

  • Barlow, Shirley A. 2008. The imagery of Euripides: A study in the dramatic use of pictorial language. London: Bristol Classical Press.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is an important analysis of the use of imagery in Euripides, through close reading of Euripides and the other tragedians.

    Find this resource:

    • Croally, N. T. 1994. Euripidean polemic: The Trojan Women and the function of tragedy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Mainly devoted to The Trojan Women. The play is placed in the social and political context of late-5th-century Athens, and argues that The Trojan Women is a good example of tragic teaching, where tragic teaching is seen as the dramatic examination of important Athenian values in the other-world of myth. What makes The Trojan Women stand out is the (extreme) dramatic context of war, in which values can be put to an extreme test.

      Find this resource:

      • De Romilly, Jaqueline. 1986. La Modernité d’Euripide. Paris: Presse Universitaires de France.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        This is a reflection on whether Euripides seemed “modern” or “contemporary” to his audience, as well as whether we should see him as a modernist now.

        Find this resource:

        • Goff, Barbara. 2009. Euripides: Trojan Women. London: Duckworth.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          This reflection on The Trojan Women—sensible and balanced—is divided into three sections: contexts; the play; 20th-century receptions. The first section deals with the contemporary context—Athens, Melos, and tragedy. The second section organizes its discussion through the various characters. The third section deals with ten 20th-century productions (mainly on the stage).

          Find this resource:

          • Gregory, Justina. 1991. Euripides and the instruction of the Athenians. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

            DOI: 10.3998/mpub.13027Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            Deals with five plays of Euripides—Alcestis, Hippolytus, Hecuba, Heracles, Trojan Women—under the overarching theme of tragic teaching. Chapter 5 (pp. 155–183) considers The Trojan Women not only as a play of despair and lamentation but also one in which the power of logos—a belief in which was so essential to Athenian democracy—helps the characters bear the unendurable.

            Find this resource:

            • Koniaris, George Leonidas. 1973. Alexander, Palamedes, Troades, Sisyphus. A connected tetralogy? A connected trilogy?. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 77:85–124.

              DOI: 10.2307/311061Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              A carefully argued criticism of attempts to argue for a close trilogic connection, such as between the three plays of the Oresteia.

              Find this resource:

              • Rutherford, R. 2012. Greek tragic style. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511842771Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                A detailed analysis of the various ways in which we talk about tragic style, incorporating imagery, spoken verse, sung lyric, character types, irony, and wisdom.

                Find this resource:

                • Scodel, Ruth. 1980. The Trojan trilogy of Euripides. Gottingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht.

                  DOI: 10.13109/9783666251566Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  The fullest treatment of whether The Trojan Women was part of a trilogy. There is a reconstruction of Alexander (pp. 20–42), of Palamedes (pp. 43–63), and detailed discussion of Sisyphus (pp. 122–137). This is also the fullest argument in favor of trilogic connection, partly based on the reversals that occur from play to play, and partly based on the agones that appear in all three plays.

                  Find this resource:

                  • Stevens, P. T. 1956. Euripides and the Athenians. The Journal of Hellenic Studies 76:87–94.

                    DOI: 10.2307/629555Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    This article convincingly argues that while Euripides did not win as many first prizes as either Aeschylus or Sophocles, that does not mean that he was unpopular (as some traditions have it). It is unlikely, given the number of plays of his that we know were performed, that he was ever turned down by the archon eponumos. Important as context. Available online by subscription.

                    Find this resource:

                    Texts

                    The text most used in the English-speaking world at least is Diggle 1981–1984 (used also by Barlow 1986, cited under Commentaries). However, there are some differences in the texts of Lee 1976, Biehl 1989, and Kovacs 1999.

                    Commentaries

                    Both Barlow 1986 and Lee 1976 have lots of interesting things to say about the play. Lee, given that he has produced his own text, has more to say about that. Biehl 1989 has a more traditional, resolutely philological approach.

                    • Barlow, Shirley A. 1986. Euripides: Trojan Women. Warminster, UK: Aris & Phillips.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      Reprinted in 2011, but pp. 1–25 of the original edition—introductions to the ancient theater, Greek tragedy, and Euripides—and the bibliography specifically related to The Trojan Women have been removed. The introductions are useful, the translation helpful, and the commentary again useful. Pp. 27–30 deal with the possibility of trilogic connection. The text used is Diggle’s.

                      Find this resource:

                      • Biehl, W. 1989. Euripides: Troades. Heidelberg, Germany: Carl Winter.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Commentary based on Biehl’s own Teubner edition of 1970, concerned primarily with making clear the original evidence of the text (and it is very useful for anyone interested in that). However, the introduction refers to secondary literature some years in the past even when the commentary was published.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Lee, K. H. 1976. Euripides: Troades. London: Macmillan.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Lee produces his own version of the text rather than relying on either Murray’s earlier Oxford Classical Text (superseded by Diggle 1981–1984, cited under Texts) or Biehl’s Teubner edition (1970). There are some interesting readings and emendations. There is an introduction (including some remarks on the possibility of trilogic connection), as well as a substantial commentary.

                          Find this resource:

                          Translations

                          Most agree that Euripides has had the benefit of a number of good translators. Here are listed those translations which are not meant for performance but which aim instead to aid the student in understanding how the Greek means what it means. Lattimore 1958 is the most ambitious and poetic.

                          • Barlow, Shirley, A. 1986. Euripides: Trojan Women. Warminster, UK: Aris & Phillips.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            Has a prose translation on the right-hand page facing the Greek. Useful but not aimed to be either poetic or performable.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Davie, John. 1998. In Euripides: Electra and other plays. Edited by Richard Rutherford, pp. 177–217. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Accessible prose translation. Interesting introduction and notes by Richard Rutherford.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Kovacs, David. 1999. The Loeb Euripides. Vol. 4. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                The translation is given on the facing page. Readable but not meant as a performance text. Available online by subscription.

                                Find this resource:

                                • Lattimore, Richmond. 1958. In The complete Greek tragedies. Euripides III: Four plays. Edited by David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, pp. 121–176. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Poetic and metrical translation. Interesting, often powerful, though some find it dated.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Morwood, James. 2000. The Trojan Women and other plays, pp. 38–75. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Prose translation. There is an interesting introduction by Edith Hall.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • Vellacott, Philip. 1973. The Bacchae and other plays, pp. 89–34. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.

                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      This is the Penguin translation that preceded Davie’s. Still very readable.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      Contexts

                                      Most would now accept that, while it is possible to read and enjoy Greek tragedy without reference to the society that produced it, it is fruitful to put tragedy into its social, cultural, and political context. Such an approach takes seriously the civic dimension of tragedy, whether that interest shades toward the more political or the more religious. Arguably, the most influential contribution has been that of Vernant and Vidal-Naquet 1988. Much work, including Cartledge 1997, Goldhill 1986, and Pelling 1997, has focused in the area established by Vernant and Vidal-Naquet.

                                      Polis

                                      Over the last forty years or so there have been many attempts to explore the relationship between tragedy and the polis. Most accept that there is some relationship, though there is disagreement over the extent to which tragedy should be seen as democratic rather than more broadly political (Carter 2007 and Carter 2011 are the most recent examples of work stressing the political but not necessarily democratic nature of tragedy). Some other scholars wish to stress the less obviously political, that is, the emotional responses to the plays (Loraux 2002 is a good example), and the plays’ pleasurable effects.

                                      • Carter, D. M. 2007. The politics of Greek tragedy. Exeter, UK: Bristol Phoenix.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        A significant contribution to this important topic. Carter argues that, while 5th-century Attic tragedy may have provoked its audience into political reflection, it was fundamentally a theater of the polis. The book deals with some of the other most important contributions to the debate about tragic politics, and has one chapter devoted to four political plays, including The Trojan Women (pp. 130–139).

                                        Find this resource:

                                        • Carter, D. M., ed. 2011. Why Athens? A reappraisal of tragic politics. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          A series of essays by prominent scholars on tragic politics, organized thematically—context, discourse, families, choruses, suppliants, Athens and Greece—including responses to each of those themes from other prominent scholars.

                                          Find this resource:

                                          • Cartledge, P. 1997. “Deep plays”: Theatre as process in Greek civic life. In The Cambridge companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by P. E. Easterling, 3–35. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                            DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521412455.001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            A good survey of the various ways in which tragedy should be seen as part of 5th-century Athens’ civic life. There is (on p. 32) a good account of why—in terms of contemporary politics—The Trojan Women is so daring.

                                            Find this resource:

                                            • Debnar, Paula. 2005. Fifth-century Athenian history and tragedy. In A companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by Justina Gregory, 3–22. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              This is an interesting discussion of tragedy and history, the importance of Athens’ empire, its navy, and its democracy. It relates a number of plays to historical events of the late 5th century.

                                              Find this resource:

                                              • Goldhill, S. 1986. Reading Greek tragedy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511627354Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                Though this book has over the last thirty years received its fair share of criticism, it remains one of the best general introductions in English to Attic tragedy. Chapter 3 (pp. 57–78) discusses the polis context.

                                                Find this resource:

                                                • Loraux, Nicole. 2002. The mourning voice. An essay on Greek tragedy. Translated by Elizabeth Trapnell Rawlings. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  Argues against an excessive interest in the civic context and dimension of tragedy, wanting instead a renewed emphasis on the emotional impact of the plays. The Trojan Women, for instance, is described as “the least dramatic and the one most given to pathos” (p. 8).

                                                  Find this resource:

                                                  • Meier, Christian. 1993. The political art of Greek tragedy. Translated by Andrew Webber. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    An important and impressive book that deals with the often-treated topic of the politics of Attic tragedy. Meier has much that is interesting to say about the relationship between ethics and politics, as well as the more specific nature of democratic politics. While the focus is mainly on the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, this is still essential reading for any student of the politics of The Trojan Women.

                                                    Find this resource:

                                                    • Pelling, C., ed. 1997. Greek tragedy and the historian. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      In the final chapter of this book—“Conclusion: Tragedy as Evidence; Tragedy and Ideology” (pp. 213–225)—Pelling gives a careful analysis of tragedy’s relation to ideology. This is important for the much debated topic of the politics of tragedy.

                                                      Find this resource:

                                                      • Vernant, J. -P., and Pierre Vidal-Naquet. 1988. Myth and tragedy in ancient Greece. Translated by Janet Lloyd. New York: Zone.

                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        An influential classic. Sophisticated and nuanced, it advances the idea (at the most general level in chapters 1–3) that—while the tragic remains an important category of human experience—Athenian tragedy of the 5th century BCE should be seen in its historical moment, and as part of the collection of civic, religious, and political gatherings organized by the city.

                                                        Find this resource:

                                                        Democracy

                                                        All the tragedies that are extant—from Aeschylus’ Persae to Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus—were written and performed during the period of 5th-century Athenian democracy. No wonder, then, that some scholars have argued that there is an important and necessary relationship between the literary genre and the political constitution. Other scholars, listed below, are not so sure.

                                                        • Carter, David. 2004. Was Attic tragedy democratic? Polis 21:1–25.

                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          This is careful consideration of the nature of the politics of Attic tragedy. Against Goldhill 1987 (cited under Festival), Carter argues that the festal context should not be seen as promoting democratic values. Carter sees political ideas in tragedy as relevant both to democracies and other types of city. There are also some interesting observations on how Athens is itself represented in tragedy—more as a benevolent imperial power than as a democracy.

                                                          Find this resource:

                                                          • Henderson, Jeffrey. 2007. Drama and democracy. In The Cambridge companion to the age of Pericles. Edited by Loren J. Samons, 179–195. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CCOL9780521807937.008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            This article argues that the dramatic festivals in the 5th century were “supracivic,” with plays concentrating on general polis concerns rather than specifically Athenian, or specifically Athenian democratic ones. The democracy, that is to say, accommodated traditional dramatic genres, allowing its Panhellenic scope in festivals sponsored by the democracy.

                                                            Find this resource:

                                                            • Rhodes, P. J. 2003. Nothing to do with democracy: Athenian drama and the polis. Journal of Hellenic Studies 123:104–119.

                                                              DOI: 10.2307/3246262Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              This article questions what has become a dominant critical position in modern criticism of tragedy, namely, that tragedy and democracy are in various ways intimately related. Available online by subscription.

                                                              Find this resource:

                                                              Festival

                                                              There was always a scholarly interest in the dramatic festivals at which Attic tragedy was performed. But Goldhill 1987 sparked off a sharper concern with the relationship between the ceremonies of the Great Dionysia and the plays that were performed at that most prestigious theatrical event. The debate about how we should view the Great Dionysia, and indeed other dramatic festivals, continues.

                                                              • Csapo, Eric, and William Slater, eds. 1994. The context of ancient Greek drama. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                This collects the evidence to do with the production of ancient drama at the dramatic festivals.

                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                • Goldhill, Simon. 1987. The Great Dionysia and civic ideology. The Journal of Hellenic Studies 107:58–76.

                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/630070Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  This is an extremely influential article that argued for the first time that the ceremonies that preceded the plays at the Great Dionysia were good evidence for the thoroughly political nature of the festival, and therefore of the tragedies that followed. Celebrated and criticized in equal measure. Available online by subscription. Also in John. J. Winkler and Froma I. Zeitlin, eds. Nothing to Do with Dionysos? Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1990.

                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                  Audience

                                                                  Those critics who want to stress the civic or political nature of Attic tragedy often have recourse to the size and constitution of the audience as a way of demonstrating their point. In recent years, however, there have been various challenges to the long-lasting orthodoxy that the audience may have numbered between fourteen thousand and seventeen thousand. Dawson 1997, for example, takes the size down to between four thousand and seven thousand. There have also been a variety of considerations of whether women (and indeed other non-citizens) were in the audience. Henderson 1991 is a particularly careful article concerned with whether women were in the audience. Sommerstein 1997 is a provocative and interesting piece, arguing that the audience at the theater mainly consisted of the more affluent, in contrast to those who regularly attended the assembly.

                                                                  • Dawson, S. 1997. The theatrical audience in fifth-century Athens. Prudentia 29:1–14.

                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Against the critical orthodoxy that has prevailed in the late 20th century, this article argues that the theatrical audience in 5th-century Athens was made up of people of mixed gender primarily from the social elite. That would affect the way we see social and political values expressed and represented in the plays.

                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                    • Goldhill, Simon. 1997. The audience in Greek tragedy. In The Cambridge companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by P. E. Easterling, 54–68. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521412455.003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      This article investigates who composed the audience of 5th-century tragedy, covering the difficult questions of whether slaves or women were present. The article stresses the large size of the audience, something questioned in more recent literature (see Dawson 1997), as well as the civic, political nature of tragedy.

                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                      • Henderson, Jeffrey. 1991. Women and the Athenian dramatic festivals. Transactions of the American Philological Society 121:133–148.

                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        A careful and through analysis of the evidence concerning the presence of women in the audience at the dramatic festivals. Henderson comes out in the end in support of the women’s presence but argues that they, or their interests, were not addressed.

                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                        • Revermann, Martin. 2006. The competence of theatre audiences in fifth- and fourth-century Athens. The Journal of Hellenic Studies 126:99–124.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/S0075426900007680Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          This article argues that, owing to large numbers of citizens being involved in choruses, that elite and non-elite citizens share a considerable amount of theatrical competence. Available online by subscription.

                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                          • Roselli, D. 2011. Theater of the people: Spectators and society in ancient Athens. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            A thorough, interdisciplinary study of the audience of Attic theater. It stresses the importance of the audience, argues that non-Athenians were present (and participating), analyzes the evidence for the economics of the theater (including the theorika), as well as the possibility of women present (Roselli thinks that some were).

                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                            • Sommerstein, A. 1997. The theatre audience, the demos, and the Suppliants of Aeschylus. In Greek tragedy and the historian. Edited by Christopher Pelling, 63–79. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                              The argument in this article is that the audience at the theatrical festivals is likely to have been more affluent and educated than the citizens who regularly attended the Assembly. Insofar as this affects our understanding of the composition of the audience, it is an important contribution to the topic of the politics of tragedy.

                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                              Function

                                                                              While there has been a sort of consensus that tragedy has something to do with the polis, some scholars have been keen to argue for a very much more specific role for tragedy, namely, one that is educative or didactic. Croally 2005 summarizes this view. However, not all scholars (see Griffin 1999, Heath 1987, Heath 2006) agree about tragedy’s function.

                                                                              • Croally, Neil. 2005. Tragedy’s teaching. In A companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by Justina Gregory, 55–70. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1002/9780470996676.ch4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Argues that tragedy’s civic or political character is partly explained by the expectation that it should teach. Various understandings of what tragic teaching was are considered.

                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                • Griffin, Jasper. 1999. The social function of Attic tragedy. The Classical Quarterly 48:3–61.

                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  An important contribution to the much discussed topic of the politics of 5th -century Attic tragedy which argues that we should see tragedy not as specifically Athenian and as overtly and pervasively political, but as “providing a uniquely vivid and piercingly pleasurable enactment of human suffering,” magnified because mythical and highly poetic.

                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                  • Heath, M. 1987. The poetics of Greek tragedy. London: Duckworth.

                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    A very detailed consideration of the poetics of tragedy. There is a thorough account of the importance of Aristotle’s Poetics (among other ancient texts). More in favor of the pleasure than of the teaching of tragedy.

                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                    • Heath, M. 2006. The social function of tragedy: Clarifications and questions. In Dionysalexandros: Essays on Aeschylus and his fellow tragedians in honour of Alexander F. Garvie. Edited by D. Cairns and V. Liapis, 253–281. Swansea, UK: Classical Press of Wales.

                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                      This article goes over some of the ground covered in Heath 1987 (i.e., the differences between intention, function, and effect), arguing that tragedy clearly had some paideutic, social function, but argues that we need to be more careful in our use of terms such as function.

                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                      • Mills, Sophie. 2010. Affirming Athenian action: Euripides’ portrayal of military activity and the limits of tragic instruction. In War, democracy and culture in classical Athens. Edited by D. Pritchard, 163–183. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Argues that war is central to a number of Euripides’ plays, including The Trojan Women. There is also a subtle account of how Athens and her military leaders are represented on the tragic stage, which in turn leads to a sensible discussion of the educative and instructive effects of tragedy (seen as more limited and avoidable than in some other critics).

                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                        • Pelling, C. 2000. Literary texts and the Greek historian. London: Routledge..

                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Pp. 164–188 deal with the topic of tragedy’s relation to ideology (cf. Pelling 1997, cited under Polis). Tragedy is seen as a form of Athenian self-criticism, but which sees the essential structures and values of the democracy left intact.

                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                          • Seaford, Richard. 2000. The social function of Attic tragedy: A response to Jasper Griffin. The Classical Quarterly 50:30–44.

                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Another response to Griffin 1999, which accepts some of Griffin’s criticisms of the “collectivist” school, but which also adds its own criticisms of Griffin.

                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                            Theatrical Production

                                                                                            How the plays were put on is another important context. Of interest are such things as the economics of creating both stage and seating for the audience; of the money that paid for the chorus and the actors; of the role of the state in choosing poets, and so on. Csapo and Slater 1994 is the best collection of evidence to do with all aspects of theatrical production.

                                                                                            • Csapo, Eric. 2007. The men who built the theatres: theatropolai, theatronai, and architektones. In The Greek theatre and festivals. Edited by Peter Wilson, 87–121. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              This is an important piece of work that argues, with careful use of both literary and archaeological evidence, that the theater in 5th-century Athens was likely to have been a temporary structure made of wood. This has implications for the size of the audience. There is also an archaeological appendix (by Hans Goette) that maps out the probable shape and size of the 5th-century auditorium.

                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                              • Csapo, Eric, and William Slater, eds. 1994. The context of ancient Greek drama. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                This collects the evidence to do with the performance of ancient drama.

                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                • Davidson, John. 2005. Theatrical production. In A companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by Justina Gregory, 194–211. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1002/9780470996676.ch13Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  A good, short introduction to how tragedy was produced in the classical period, properly emphasizing our relative lack of good evidence. Davidson considers the performance space, the performers, as well as the audience.

                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                  • Wilson, Peter, J. 2000. The Athenian institution of the Khoregia: The chorus, the city and the stage. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    An important book that lays out and discusses the evidence for the ways in which the classical Athenians funded their festival choruses. Argues that an understanding of the khoregia contributes to our understanding of how the Athenian democracy worked.

                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                    Stagecraft

                                                                                                    Some say that, for a long time, Attic tragedy was taken as something to be read (parsed, even) rather than performed. A lot of very interesting scholarly work in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has been done which argues that we must view tragedy as something performed. Taplin 1978 is a good example of this. It is no accident that the academic focus on performance has coincided with a golden age of contemporary productions of tragedy—in the United States, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. However, considerations of stage space need not only concern entrances and exits, and Rehm 2002 is a sophisticated account of stage space.

                                                                                                    Homer

                                                                                                    No ancient Greek could escape Homer: the Iliad and the Odyssey were there as ever-present and important sets of stories, and repositories of values. Attic tragedy tries, in some scholars’ views, to take on or match the cultural prestige of Homer. Certainly, tragedy often mines the same mythical seams as Homeric epic. Whenever Troy is the scene of a tragedy (as is the case in The Trojan Women), that is even more obviously true.

                                                                                                    • Davidson, John. 1999–2000. Euripides, Homer and Sophocles. Illinois Classical Studies 24–25:117–128.

                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      A more general discussion about the relationship between tragedy and Homer than Davidson 2001, but one that marvels at the “amazing range and versatility” of Euripides’ response to Homeric epic. Pp. 125–128 deal explicitly with The Trojan Women, concentrating on the tensions between tragedy and epic created by the agon, and on lamentation.

                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                      • Davidson, John. 2001. Homer and Euripides’ Troades. The Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 45:65–80.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1111/j.2041-5370.2001.tb00232.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        There is an obvious and pervasive relationship between the Iliad and The Trojan Women. Davidson traces not only the echoes in language and the allusions to characters; he also sees the play as what he calls an “impassioned sequel” to the epic poem, while at the same time accepting some degree of tension between the 5th-century play and the epic poem (such as in the agon). Available online.

                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                        • Goldhill, S. 1986. Reading Greek tragedy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511627354Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Chapter 6 (pp. 138–167) discusses the importance of Homer for tragedy.

                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                          Women and Tragedy

                                                                                                          This is a topic that has produced a very large volume of work in the last forty years or so. The items given below are not meant to amount to a complete list by any means, but what they say is pertinent to the way women are represented in The Trojan Women. Easterling 1987, Foley 2001, and Seidensticker 1995 are all good introductions to the topic. Zeitlin 1996—with its argument that tragic women are used as agents of male self-examination—remains the most provocative contribution.

                                                                                                          • Easterling, P. E. 1987. Women in tragic space. The Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 34:15–26.

                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.2041-5370.1987.tb00551.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                            A careful and balanced consideration of the role played by women in tragedy, arguing that it is important to avoid reductivist and over-rigid interpretations based on similarly over-rigid accounts of women’s place in 5th-century Athenian society. Available online.

                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                            • Foley, Helene P. 2001. Female acts in Greek tragedy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              A thorough consideration of women in tragedy.

                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                              • Mossman, Judith. 2005. Women’s Voices. In A Companion to Greek Tragedy. Edited by Justina Gregory, 352–365. Oxford: Blackwell.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1002/9780470996676.ch22Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                An interesting discussion of women and female speech in tragedy. Useful, and usefully concise.

                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                • Rehm, Rush. 1994. Marriage to death: The conflation of wedding and funeral rituals in Greek tragedy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Chapter 9 (pp. 128–135) analyzes the ways in which weddings and funerals, marriage and death, inform the major dramatic encounters of the play.

                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                  • Seidensticker, Bernd. 1995. Women on the tragic stage. In History, tragedy, theory: Dialogues on Athenian drama. Edited by Barbara Goff, 151–173. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    A useful discussion of this important topic. Seidensticker argues that there are four basic ways to see women on the tragic stage: (a) they usually react to a violation of or threat to their domestic domain; (b) they react inside their world; (c) they are often represented as cunning; (d) where the domestic domain is left, women normally pay for their transgression.

                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                    • Syropoulos, Spyros D. 2003. Gender and the social function of Athenian tragedy. Oxford: Archaeopress.

                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      A longish article rather than a book, this is a balanced consideration of the representation of women in tragedy. The argument is that tragedy does teach through a series of negative gender exempla (the individual plays discussed are: Aeschylus Supplices, Euripides Alcestis, Bacchae, Medea).

                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                      • Zeitlin, Froma I. 1996. Playing the other: Theater, theatricality and the feminine in Greek drama. In Playing the other: Gender and society in classical Greek literature. By Froma I. Zeitlan, 341–374. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        This is a celebrated article which argues that the Athenian men of the audience use the “women” on the tragic stage (written and acted by men of course) to engage in a sort of dialogue with the inside—both of the house and of the person. As such women become agents of male self-examination.

                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                        The Sophists

                                                                                                                        It has long held to be the case that Euripides is the most sophistic of all the tragedians. What the term “sophistic” means has, however, been a matter of quite sharp debate, especially as it relates to Euripidean tragedy. Included in most scholars’ lists of the sophistic presence in Euripides are critical attitudes to myth and religion, and a keen focus on the possibilities and limitations of language. The Trojan Women has been of especial interest in this area because of the possible relationship between the agon and Gorgias’s Encomium of Helen. Kerferd 1981 is the best introduction to the topic of the Sophists generally, and Conacher 1998 is the most thorough investigation of Euripides’ relation to the Sophists. Arrowsmith 1968 still seems one of the best understandings of Euripides as an intellectual poet.

                                                                                                                        • Allan, William. 1999–2000. Euripides and the Sophists: Society and the theatre of war. Illinois Classical Studies 24–25:145–156.

                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          This article argues that Euripides is closely related to the Sophists, most especially in the ability to shock, to provoke reflection, and to ask questions.

                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                          • Arrowsmith, William. 1968. Euripides’ theater of ideas. In Euripides: A collection of critical essays. Edited by Erich Segal, 13–33. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            An extremely eloquent article that argues that we need to recover what Arrowsmith calls the “turbulence” in Greek tragedy. The focus is on “the impact of ideas” under “dramatic test.” Arrowsmith is careful to distinguish what he views as a “theater of ideas” from a proselytizing, crudely didactic theater.

                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                            • Conacher, Desmond. 1998. Euripides and the Sophists. London: Duckworth.

                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              A useful introduction to the broad topic of Euripides relationship to the Sophists. Pp. 51–58 in chapter 4 consider the agon in The Trojan Women.

                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                              • Goldhill, S. 1986. Reading Greek tragedy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511627354Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Chapter 9 (pp. 222–243) considers tragedy’s use of and relationship with the Sophists. There is some discussion of the agon in The Trojan Women.

                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                • Goldhill, Simon. 1997. The language of tragedy: Rhetoric and communication. In The Cambridge companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by P. E. Easterling, 127–150. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521412455.006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  This is a useful introduction to the ways in which tragedy makes use of the language of the lawcourts and of the assembly. It also argues that, sharing an intellectual environment with the Sophists, tragedy makes language (and rhetoric) itself a central topic of discussion.

                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                  • Kerferd, G. B. 1981. The Sophistic movement. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    A thorough and careful account of the various contributions made by the Sophists to 5th-century Greek thought, organized both by individual Sophist and by intellectual topic (e.g., rhetoric, nomos/phusis, theories of knowledge). Important as a context for understanding Euripides’ use and adaptation of, as well as confrontation with, Sophistic thinkers.

                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                    • Macdowell, D., ed. 1982. Gorgias: Encomium on Helen. Bristol, UK: Bristol Classical Press.

                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      This is a judicious commentary on this provocative but important text.

                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                      • Winnington-Ingram, R. 1969. Euripides: poietes sophos. Arethusa 2:127–142.

                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        An elegant consideration of Euripides as an intellectual poet, with some reflections on the poet’s relationship to the Sophists.

                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                        Rhetoric and Debates

                                                                                                                                        One of the areas in which Sophists were supposed to be most keenly interested was rhetoric. Euripides is often seen as the most rhetorical of tragedians, one who wrote plays which often feature set-piece debates (agones). Barker 2009 deals with the agon generally; Buxton 1982 and Duchemin 1968 deal with rhetoric in tragedy; Collard 1975 and Conacher 1981 deal more specifically with rhetoric in Euripidean drama.

                                                                                                                                        Themes

                                                                                                                                        The Trojan Women is most obviously a play about war and its effects. At the same time it casts its net wide, examining and dramatizing the effects of war on sexual relations, on the differences between Greeks and barbarians, the free and the enslaved, on who counts as a friend or an enemy. The setting of the play, the destroyed city of Troy, is unique and possibly unpropitious (as argued in Easterling 1989). The date of the production—415 BCE—has led some scholars to argue that the play is persistently anachronistic, alluding to the events in Melos in 416 BCE, and the Sicilian Expedition in 415 BCE. Delebecque 1951 (cited under Anachronism) is possibly the most adamant in arguing this; Erp Taalman Kip 1987 and Sidwell 2001, both cited under Anachronism, are more sceptical. Maxwell-Stuart 1973 and Westlake 1953 (both cited under Anachronism) are more specifically concerned with the Sicilian Expedition.

                                                                                                                                        The Effects of War

                                                                                                                                        While there has been vigorous argument as to whether The Trojan Women is simply an anti-war play, no one doubts that the play represents the extreme effects of war, seen in as various areas as a collapse in ritual practice, the enslavement of the Trojan women, and the murder of Astyanax.

                                                                                                                                        Women

                                                                                                                                        The Trojan Women is a play dominated by women. Hecuba is on stage throughout; the chorus of women appear near the beginning. The play is structured around Hecuba’s encounters with Cassandra, Andromache, and Helen in turn. Only two mortal men appear: the herald Talthybius and Menelaus in the agon scene, where he speaks very little. The concerns of women—family, burial, ritual practice, sexual relations—are variously addressed.

                                                                                                                                        • Craik, Elizabeth. 1990. Sexual imagery and innuendo in Troades. In Euripides, women and sexuality. Edited by Anton Powell, 1–15. London: Routledge.

                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                          Argues that sexual innuendo and double entendres are more pervasive in The Trojan Women than one might have expected.

                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                          • Dué, Casey. 2006. The captive womans’ lament in Greek tragedy. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            The title is self-explanatory, broadly speaking. The book deals with four plays—Aeschylus’ Persians and Euripides’ Andromache, Hecuba, and The Trojan Women (pp. 136–150). There is also a section (pp. 91–116) that considers the relationship of Athenians and the Trojan War.

                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                            • Munteanu, Dana Lacourse. 2011. The tragic muse and the anti-epic glory of women in Euripides’ Troades. The Classical Journal 106:129–147.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.5184/classicalj.106.2.0129Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              The play, according to this article, concentrates on the negative effects of war, for example, captured women and slaughtered children. Available online.

                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                              • Scodel, Ruth. 1998. The captive’s dilemma: Sexual acquiescence in Euripides Hecuba and Troades. Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 98:137–154.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/311340Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                The title of the article is self-explanatory. When dealing with The Trojan Women, Scodel argues that sexual acquiescence and the theme of rape dominate the play. Scodel sees the play as a series of encounters between Hecuba and three much younger women who “can attempt to use their value to improve their conditions” (p. 145).

                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                Other Important Polarities

                                                                                                                                                Many scholars have discussed the Greek penchant for thinking in polarized terms (though, arguably, Lloyd 1966, remains the best philosophical approach to the topic). Much of the scholarship on The Trojan Women refers to and uses these polarities for the purpose of analysis (in a variety of ways). Croally 1994, however, devotes a whole chapter to polarities and their representation.

                                                                                                                                                • Belfiore, Elizabeth, S. 2000. Murder among friends: Violation of philia in Greek tragedy. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  This is an important book that thoroughly analyzes philia and its violations in Greek tragedy. As such it provides useful contextual information for the analysis of philia relations in The Trojan Women.

                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                  • Blundell, M. Whitlock 1989. Helping friends and harming enemies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511586170Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Taken together with Belfiore 2000, this book provides important contextual understanding for the representation of philia relations in The Trojan Women.

                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                    • Croally, N. T. 1994. Euripidean polemic: The Trojan women and the function of tragedy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Chapter 2 (pp. 70–119) is titled “Polarities,” and deals with Gods and humans (under the title “ritual disorder”), men and women, the free and the enslaved, Greeks and barbarians, and friends and enemies. The argument is that war is a particularly fertile dramatic context for the examination of such polarities.

                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                      • Dubois, Page. 1984. Centaurs and Amazons. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Coming out of the work of Lloyd 1966, this is a sophisticated consideration of difference in classical Athens, and how difference (of gender and of species) is represented in myth.

                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                        • Foley, Helene. 1985. Ritual irony: Poetry and sacrifice in Euripides. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          An extremely interesting account of the place of the religious in Euripidean tragedy, especially important for those moments when sacrifice is involved.

                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                          • Gregory, Justina. 2002. Euripides as social critic. Greece and Rome 49:145–162.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/gr/49.2.145Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            This article looks at various aspects of contemporary Athenian society which Euripides can be seen as criticizing, for instance, slavery. The article concludes that Euripides is indeed a social critic.

                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                            • Hall, Edith. 1989. Inventing the barbarian: Greek self-definition through tragedy. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                              An important book that traces the invention and development of the cultural category of barbarian. Hall’s findings are applied to The Trojan Women in the final chapter, where it is argued that the inversion of the Greek/barbarian hierarchical polarity in The Trojan Women produces a striking rhetorical effect.

                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                              • Hall, Edith. 1997. The sociology of Greek tragedy. In The Cambridge companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by P. E. Easterling, 93–126. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521412455.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                This article looks at who people the stage of Attic tragedy. The representation of Athens and Athenians is considered, as are the roles played by various outsiders, such as slaves and women.

                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                • Lloyd, G. E. R. 1966. Polarity and analogy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  A seminal study of the polarizing habit of thought of the Greeks.

                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                  Mise-en-scène

                                                                                                                                                                  The mise-en-scène of The Trojan Women is unique. No other tragedy is set with a destroyed city as its backdrop (as argued in Easterling 1989 and Stieber 2011); no other tragedy has imagined on stage a set that is as temporary as the play itself (see Croally 1994: the women’s tents will be removed at the end of the play as the women are shipped back to Greece). The uses of space are also very interesting: there is no use of an off-stage inside space and most of the characters enter only to exit and never return.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Croally, N. T. 1994. Euripidean polemic: The Trojan Women and the function of tragedy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                    Large parts of chapter 4 (pp. 163–248) are devoted to the distinctive tragic space of The Trojan Women. More specifically, there is consideration of the importance of walls, of the complete destruction of Troy, and of the temporariness of the scene.

                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                    • Easterling, P. E. 1989. City settings in Greek poetry. Proceedings of the Classical Association 86:5–17.

                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                      This article is concerned with both epic and tragedy and is particularly interested in Troy as a dramatic setting. There are some wise remarks on The Trojan Women’s use of the backdrop of Troy being finally destroyed that could have been seen as “unbearably unpropitious” (though better to see Troy destroyed than, say, Miletus or Melos).

                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                      • Easterling, P. E. 1997. Form and performance. In The Cambridge companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by P. E. Easterling, 151–177. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521412455.007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        There are some interesting observations here (mainly on pp. 173–177) on the unique setting of The Trojan Women, and how that could be perceived as ill-omened.

                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                        • Lloyd, Michael. 2012. Euripides. In Space in ancient Greek literature. Edited by Irene J. F. de Jong, 341–357. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brilluri.

                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1163/9789004224384_020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                          This is a careful survey of the various mise-en-scènes found in Euripides (all the extant plays are set in one place, which is identified in the prologue). There are some interesting remarks on “extra-scenic spaces” and on how Euripidean space is dominated by a series of contrasts: inside/outside; high/low; domestic/public; city/countryside; Greece/non-Greece.

                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                          • Stieber, Mary. 2011. Euripides and the language of craft. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill.

                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            Pp. 1–32 contain a very interesting discussion of the The Trojan Women and the way it represents space. Building on the work of Easterling 1989, it shows how The Trojan Women is unique in showing the destruction of a city, and has important things to say about walls.

                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                            • Uum, P. van. 2013. The theatre as Heterotopia: The questioning of ideology in Euripides’ Trojan Women. In The ideologies of lived space in literary texts, ancient and modern. Edited by J. Klooster and J. Heirman, 71–82. Gent, Belgium: Academic Press.

                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              A careful consideration of the space of Troy in The Trojan Women. Troy is seen as a dystopia, but its representation as such is not seen to threaten the dominant ideology of imperial Athens.

                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                              • Zeitlin, Froma I. 1990. Thebes: Theater of self and society in Athenian drama. In Nothing to do with Dionysos? Edited by John J. Winkler and Froma I. Zeitlin, 130–167. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                A sophisticated analysis of Thebes as an other-scene in tragedy. Important for the consideration of tragic space.

                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                Anachronism

                                                                                                                                                                                Most scholars accept that the dramatic world created in Attic tragedies is one distant in important ways from the world of the contemporary 5th-century audience. As Easterling 1985 makes clear, books, coins, and various other items familiar to the audience make no appearance in tragedy. Instead we have worlds crafted from Homer and myth. At the same time, Euripides can be seen to be particularly distinctive in this area, notably in the debate about democracy and monarchy in his Supplices. Debate about anachronism in The Trojan Women has tended to be concerned with the extent to which the play can be said to refer to, represent, and criticize certain contemporary events, namely, the massacre and enslavement of Melians in 416 BCE, and the expedition to Sicily which set sail in 415 BCE. Delebecque 1951 argues firmly for such contemporary allusions. For different reasons both Erp Taalman Kip 1987 and Sidwell 2001 are skeptical as to whether the play does allude to events in Melos in 416 BCE. Maxwell-Stuart 1973 and Westlake 1953 are more concerned with possibly allusions to the upcoming expedition to Sicily. Roisman 1997 is a balanced study of the possibility of contemporary allusion.

                                                                                                                                                                                • Delebecque, E. 1951. Euripide et la Guerre du Peloponnese. Paris: Librairie C. Klincksieck.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                  Pp. 245–262 deal with The Trojan Women. Delebecque argues that the play is Euripides’ great anti-war statement, referring to the war crime of Melos, the expedition to Sicily, and the dangerous ambition of Alcibiades.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Easterling, P. E. 1985. Anachronism in Greek tragedy. The Journal of Hellenic Studies 105:1–10.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/631518Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    This is an important article that lays the ground in which anachronism in tragedy can be considered. It is perhaps a little too sanguine about the hermetically sealed dramatic world created in tragedy, but is still sensitive to Euripidean experiment in this area. Available online by subscription.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Easterling, P. E. 1994. Euripides outside Athens. Illinois Classical Studies 19:73–80.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      This article considers specifically Trojan Women 187ff. and the chorus’ consideration there of the various Greek locations to which they might be sent. There is detailed discussion of Sparta and Sicily.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Easterling, P. E. 1997. Form and performance. In The Cambridge companion to Greek tragedy. Edited by P. E. Easterling, 151–177. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521412455.007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        There are some wise remarks about the play’s relation to contemporary events.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Erp Taalman Kip, A. Maria van. 1987. Euripides and Melos. Mnemosyne 40:414–419.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1163/156852587X00553Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          This articles argues that, because of the nature of composing and rehearsing tragedies, The Trojan Women cannot be seen as Euripides’ response to the massacre at Melos.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Goff, Barbara. 2009. Euripides: Trojan Women. London: Duckworth.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                            The first section deals with the contemporary context—Athens, Melos, and tragedy.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Maxwell-Stuart, P. G. 1973. The dramatic poets and the expedition to Sicily. Historia 22:397–404.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                              The events at Melos in 416 BCE are not the only contemporary context in which The Trojan Women can be viewed. Through a consideration of the possible trilogy of which The Trojan Women was the last play, this article argues that the play should be seen mainly in relation to the planned expedition to Sicily.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                              • Roisman, Joseph. 1997. Contemporary allusions in Euripides Trojan Women. Studi Italiani di Filologia Classica 15:38–47.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                A careful study that considers the extent to which The Trojan Women can be read in relation contemporary events, most especially the events in Melos in 415 BCE. Interesting also on the mise-en-scène of a razed city, and how that relates to events in the Peloponnesian War.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Rosenbloom, David. 2006. Empire and its discontents: Trojan Women, Birds, and the symbolic economy of Athenian imperialism. In Greek drama III: Essays in honour of Kevin Lee. Edited by John Davidson, Francis Muecke and Peter Wilson, 245–271. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Supplement 87. London: Institute of Classical Studies, Univ. of London.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is an important article that seeks to reconsider the question of whether tragedies reinforce the dominant order or not. On pp. 256–259 there is an interesting discussion of the agon in The Trojan Women in this context, relating the debate specifically to the Melian Dialogue in Thucydides. Available online by subscription.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sidwell, K. 2001. Melos and The Trojan Women. In Essays on Trojan Women. Edited by David Stuttard and Tamsin Shasha, 30–45. London: Actors of Dionysus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Takes a skeptical view of the play’s relationship to the contemporary events in Melos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Westlake, H. D. 1953. Euripides, “Troades” 205–229. Mnemosyne 6:181–191.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1163/156852553X00271Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This article deals with the list of places that the Trojan Women imagine that they might be sent to, with particular emphasis given to the mention of Sicily and, by implication Westlake argues, to the Sicilian expedition. Westlake also deals with the overt criticism of Corinth and Sparta as destinations, as well as with the preference for Athens, and a slighter one for Thessaly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Comedy

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Euripides is often seen as the tragic poet most prepared to include the comic (and the inappropriate and the grotesque) in the dramatic worlds he creates. The Trojan Women is relentlessly grim, apart from in the agon scene, which is entirely different in tone from the rest of the play, and which contains an exchange between Hecuba and Menelaus which has—almost comically—been a source of disagreement among scholars: is the exchange a joke or not? If it is, what effect does that have? The most skeptical in this area are, first, Kovacs 1998 and then Gregory 1999–2000. Michelini 1987, Seidensticker 1982, and Wright 2007 are more general considerations of the comic in Euripides.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Self-reference

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Euripides is normally thought to be the most self-aware and the most self-referential of the tragedians. The Trojan Women may not have the persistent metatheatricality of, for instance, Bacchae, but the self-awareness is there. Taplin 1986 is a thoughtful consideration of the differences between tragedy and comedy in the 5th century. Goldhill 1986 has some powerful analysis of self-reference in Bacchae and Electra; Mastronarde 1999–2000 is focused on Euripides more broadly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Batezzato, Luigi. 2005. The new music of the Trojan Women. Lexis 23:73–104.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is an interesting article that argues that the breakdown in society caused by the war leads also to a breakdown in various musical traditions, such as wedding songs (Cassandra) and ritual laments. There are also interesting remarks about the consolation of appearing in song, one the one hand, and a certainty that the name of Troy will be effaced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Croally, N. T. 1994. Euripidean polemic: The Trojan Women and the function of tragedy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pp. 235–248 consider self-reference in The Trojan Women.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Goldhill, S. 1986. Reading Greek tragedy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511627354Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chapters 10 and 11 deal with self-reference in tragedy, mainly concentrating on Euripides’ Electra and Bacchae.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Mastronarde, D. 1999–2000. Euripidean tragedy and genre: The terminology and its problems. Illinois Classical Studies 24–25:23–40.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A good study of the way Euripides changed the language, tone, structure and content of tragedy, by democratizing, eroticizing, feminizing, trivilializing, and rhetoricizing the genre. The self-consciousness of Euripidean tragedy is given proper emphasis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Taplin, Oliver. 1986. Fifth-century tragedy and comedy: A synkrisis. The Journal of Hellenic Studies 106:163–174.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/629650Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                A very interesting article that seeks to find the similarities and differences between the dramatic worlds created by tragedy and comedy. Important as context for the consideration of theatrical self-reference in The Trojan Women. Available online by subscription or purchase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Characters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                While Hecuba is on stage throughout the play, The Trojan Women also presents us with a series of powerful but contrasting female characters, as well as the intriguing Talthybius. The play is unusual for having so many powerful figures. (Perhaps only Hippolytus matches it in this respect.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Cassandra

                                                                                                                                                                                                                With the exception of the chorus, Cassandra is the first woman to encounter Hecuba. Her appearance is certainly striking. Some critics—Mason 1959—have been interested in the different representation of Cassandra in The Trojan Women and the Oresteia. Others, such as Padel 1994 and Papadopoulou 2000, have been interested in the extent to which we can call Cassandra “mad.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hecuba

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hecuba dominates the play, being on-stage throughout. There has been much argument about her character, especially because of the way she seems to change in the agon scene (see Amerasinghe 1973). Fitzgerald 1989 proposes a crucial view of Hecuba, whereas Waterfield 1982 judges Hecuba in the context of defeat in war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Amerasinghe, C. W. 1973. The Helen episode in the Troades. Ramus 2:99–106.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/S0048671X0000463XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hecuba’s character is analyzed in the context of the Helen scene.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fitzgerald, Gerald. 1989. Euripides and Hecuba. Confounding the “Model.” Maia 41:217–222.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is a study of the character of Hecuba in both Hecuba and The Trojan Women. Fitzgerald has a more negative view of Hecuba than most critics, arguing that she—or her arguments—are often defeated by the context in which they are uttered, as for instance in both the Andromache scene and the agon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Waterfield, R. 1982. Double standards in Euripides Troades. Maia 34:139–142.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Waterfield argues that war causes Hecuba and Andromache to advance positions that are inconsistent, mainly in relation to religious practice and belief.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Helen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cassandra appears as a “mad” prophetess, saying incredible things. Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world, appears as a different sort of threat. Blondell 2013 provides good general information with which to consider Helen in The Trojan Women. Sienkiewicz 1980 is critical of Helen, whereas Worman 1997 takes a more sympathetic view.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Talthybius

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Talthybius is arguably the most prominent non-aristocrat in Greek tragedy. Dyson and Lee 2000 and Gilmartin 1970 both argue that Talthybius is a humane character. Not all scholars agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Dyson, M., and Lee, K. H. 2000. Talthybius in Euripides’ Troades. Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 41:141–173.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Uniquely for extant Euripidean tragedies, The Trojan Women has no messenger speech. It does, however, have the intriguing Greek herald, Talthybius. Scholars have noted some interesting aspects of his character (sympathy with the Trojan women, made concrete in his part in the burial of Astyanax). Dyson and Lee deal with all this in some detail, but also analyze some of the ways in which Talthybius shows surprising initiative and independence.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Gilmartin, Kristine. 1970. Talthybius in The Trojan Women. The American Journal of Philology 91:213–222.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/293044Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a careful account of the various ways in which critics have treated the Greek herald, Talthybius. Its main emphasis is on the humane attitudes shown by the herald toward the Trojan women.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sullivan, James Jan 2007. The agency of the herald Talthybius in Euripides “Trojan Women.” Mnemosyne 60:472–477.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1163/156852507X215472Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This article is critical of earlier treatments of the herald. Sullivan argues that communication and the need for information are important themes of the play and, to that extent, Talthybius is an important character, especially as the type of information that he gives is in such contrast to that of Cassandra.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Other Characters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Two important characters in The Trojan Women who either do not appear or do not speak are Astyanax and Polyxena. The deaths of both are mentioned. Petersmann 1977 considers the sacrifice of Polyxena in detail; Philippo 2007 wants to stress the importance of Astyanax’s death.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Scenes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Many critics have remarked on the distinctive dramatic structure of The Trojan Women, with its unusual prologue, with Hecuba always present, with its confrontation of Hecuba with Cassandra, Andromache and Helen in turn, all of which are followed by an extended lament for the death of Astyanax and the disappearance of Troy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Conacher, D. J. 1967. Euripidean drama: Myth, theme and structure. Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.3138/9781442653047Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chapter 7 (pp. 127–145) concentrates on the dramatic structure of The Trojan Women, arguing that, in its “rhythm of hope and desolation” (p. 139), the play is more artfully organized than some critics think. There is also some consideration of the possible trilogy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Dyson, M., and K. H. Lee. 2000. The funeral of Astyanax in Euripides’ Troades. The Journal of Hellenic Studies 120:17–33.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.2307/632479Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As the title of the article suggests, the concentration here is on Astyanax’s funeral as it is described toward the end of The Trojan Women. Dyson and Lee are keen to emphasize that the apparent conflation of marriage and death in Astyanax’s funeral should not be seen as feminized. The article is also concerned with the idea of poetic consolation for the loss of Troy. Available online by subscription.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Meridor, Ra’anana. 1984. Plot and myth in Euripides’ “Heracles” and “Troades.” Phoenix 38:205–215.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/1088273Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is an article really concerned about dramatic structure, in that both plays mentioned in the title of the article have no divine epilogue but give (vague) predictions of the finale in the prologue and elsewhere in the play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Sansone, David. 2009. Euripides’ New Song: The first stasimon of Trojan Women. In The play of texts and fragments: Essays in honour of Martin Cropp. Edited by J. R. C. Cousland and James R. Hume, 193–204. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9789004174733.i-580.33Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In this detailed analysis of the first stasimon of The Trojan Women, Sansone sees the stasimon as distinctively tragic, even though it deals with epic subject matter. Sansone carefully relates the stasimon both to the Iliad and to the rest of the play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Segal, Charles. 1993. Euripides and the poetics of sorrow. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1215/9780822381792Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This book collects articles published in academic journals in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The topic broadly is ritual lament as it is presented in Euripides. No one chapter is entirely devoted to The Trojan Women, but there are some telling words about Hecuba’s lament over the body of Astyanax near the end of the play (“Lament as closure”; pp. 29–33).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Prologue

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A prologue spoken by a divinity is not uncommon in Euripides. A dialogue between two divinities is. Fontenrose 1967 and Fontenrose 1968 is particularly keen on discussing the exchanges between Athena and Poseidon, which Wilson 1967 argues is an interpolation. Lloyd 2009 is more concerned with the tone of the exchange between the two gods, whereas O’Neill 1941 is interested in Poseidon’s attitude to Troy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Cassandra Scene

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cassandra dominates this scene, most especially by her apparent madness and by the incredible claims she makes about whether the Greeks or Trojans have won the war. Arguably, her insistence that the Trojans have in various ways fared better than the Greeks is a classic example of Euripides’ deployment of paradox.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rutherford, R. 2001. The Cassandra scene. In Essays on Trojan Women. Edited by David Stuttard and Tamsin Shasha, 90–103. London: Actors of Dionysus.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Considers the Cassandra scene both in itself and in relation to the rest of the play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Andromache Scene

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Andromache scene is the central scene of the play, and the one in which we see the truly devastating effects of war. Andromache laments the irony that her reputation as a model wife leads to her being assigned to the son of the man who killed her husband. As if that is not bad enough, the removal of Astyanax to be killed is, for many, almost too much to bear and, arguably, explains the nature of the next scene, the agon, so different in tone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Helen Scene

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The Helen scene is, in tone, entirely different to the rest of the play. That is in no small measure down to Helen herself. Some critics find the scene as a whole puzzling or anomalous (Amerasinghe 1973; Gellie 1986). Others concentrate on the rhetoric of the agon. Lloyd 1984 and Lloyd 1992 are the most complete treatments of the agon, though Spatharas 2002 provides a good account of the relationship between Helen’s speech and Gorgias’s Encomium of Helen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Amerasinghe, C. W. 1973. The Helen episode in the Troades. Ramus 2:99–106.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/S0048671X0000463XSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This article finds the Helen scene baffling, but seeks to find meaning for it in the need for revenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Gellie, George. 1986. Helen in The Trojan Women. In Studies in honour of T.B.L. Webster. Edited by J. H. Betts, J. T. Hooker and J. R. Green, pp. 114–121. Bristol, UK: Bristol Classical Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In this article Gellie argues persuasively that the play is full of pain, and that the Helen scene is (therefore) anomalous, with its touches of comedy. But Gellie also sees the scene “in that sickening gap between the removal of Astyanax and the return of his corpse” (p. 116).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lloyd, Michael. 1984. The Helen scene in Euripides Troades. Classical Quarterly 34:303–313.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0009838800030950Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Analyzes the Helen scene in relation to the rest of the play, seeing Helen’s departure from Greece to be with Paris mirrored by the departure of the Trojan women from Troy for marriage in Greece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Lloyd, Michael. 1992. The agon in Euripides. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In this important book Lloyd surveys the thirteen agones in Euripides’ surviving plays. Starting from the position that these set-piece debates in Euripides rarely achieve anything, Lloyd analyzes the various debates in terms of various formal characteristics, such as whether the defendant speaks first. There are some insightful remarks on Helen’s and Hecuba’s contributions in The Trojan Women.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Mastronarde, D. 2010. The art of Euripides. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511676437Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This book is particularly important for an understanding of The Trojan Women in its consideration of the relationship between rhetoric and character (pp. 207–245). Mastronarde concludes that debates in Euripides serve to emphasize significant gaps in communication, the difficulties of coming to firm moral judgments, and the fragility and changeability of character.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Meridor, Ra’anana. 2000. Creative rhetoric in Euripides’ “Troades”: Some notes on Hecuba’s speech. The Classical Quarterly 50:16–29.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1093/cq/50.1.16Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This article argues that Hecuba clearly wins the debate with Helen (based on Menelaus’s decision at lines 1036–1041). There are some interesting observations as to how the death of Astyanax may be related to whether Menelaus does in fact execute Helen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sansone, David. 2012. Greek drama and the invention of rhetoric. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1002/9781118358337Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An important work on the relation between drama and rhetoric. There are some interesting comments on the agon in The Trojan Women on pp. 163–164, 173–174, 203–206.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Spatharas, Dimos. 2002. Gorgias’ Encomium of Helen and Euripides’ Troades. Eranos 100:166–174.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is a careful analysis of the similarities and differences between Helen’s defense in The Trojan Women and Gorgias’s arguments in the Encomium of Helen. The argument that it is not so much influence as similarity that counts is well made.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Stinton, T. C. W. 1965. Euripides and the judgement of Paris. London: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There are some wise words here about how the agon works in The Trojan Women, namely, as an emotional relief after the death of Astyanax, as a crystallization of some of the play’s themes and, finally, as good dramatic cut and thrust (pp. 35–39).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reception

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reception has now become an important part of classical studies (and rightly so). The Trojan Women has become an increasingly popular play to be performed on stage or on screen in the late 20th and early 21st century: this is no doubt to do with its powerful representation of the effects of war. The most detailed treatments of these most recent performances are Goff 2009, Lauriola 2015, and Willis 2005 (all cited under Reception in Recent Times). The plethora of contemporary productions should not make us forget that there is at least one powerful rewriting of the play in antiquity, namely, Seneca’s Troades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reception in Antiquity

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The sense in which Euripides’ The Trojan Women was “received” by Seneca has been the subject of much academic debate in recent years. The consensus now is that it would be wrong to see Seneca adapting individual plays; he should instead be seen as responding to tragedy more generally, but especially to Euripides.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ahl, Frederick. 1986. Seneca: Trojan Women. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Translation with an introduction. The translation is fairly free.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Boyle, A. J. 1994. Seneca’s Troades: Introduction, text, translation and commentary. Leeds, UK: Francis Cairns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thorough and useful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Boyle, A. J. 1997. Tragic Seneca: An essay in the theatrical tradition. London: Routledge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is a very detailed and sophisticated analysis of Senecan tragedy, considering rhetoric, stagecraft, ideology, and theatricality. The Trojan Women is discussed at various points throughout the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Boyle, A. J. 2006. Roman tragedy. London: Routledge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a good general introduction. Pp. 189–218 deal with Seneca.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Brenton, Cindy. 2002. Split vision: The politics of the gaze in Seneca’s Troades. In The Roman gaze: Vision, power and the body. Edited by David Fredrick, 31–56. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is a discussion of the representation of women and argues that there is a crisis of male subjectivity in the play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Erasmo, Mario. 2004. Roman tragedy: Theatre to theatricality. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chapter 5 (pp. 122–140) discusses Senecan tragedy in relation to metatragedy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Fantham, Elaine. 1983. Seneca’s Troades: A literary introduction with text, translation and commentary. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This precedes Boyle’s commentary but can be used together with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Staley, Gregory A. 2010. Seneca and the idea of tragedy. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A sophisticated discussion of Senecan poetics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Reception in Recent Times

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Since 1945 there have been a number of celebrated performances of The Trojan Women. Goff 2009 and Willis 2005 give the most detailed coverage of the various productions. Lauriola 2015 is a broader account of the reception of The Trojan Women, both in antiquity and in the modern era, and in a variety of media.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Budelmann, Felix. 2007. Trojan Women in Yorubaland. In Classics in post-colonial worlds. Edited by Lorna Hardwick and Carol Gillespie, 15–39. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296101.003.0002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This chapter discusses the Women of Owu, Femi Osofisan’s adaptation of The Trojan Women, set in Nigeria. Budelmann concentrates on the play’s representation of the terrible effects of war; on its stress on community rather than the individual; on the representation of gender; and on the form and tone of the play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Goff, Barbara. 2009. Euripides: Trojan Women. London: Duckworth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The third section deals with ten 20th-century productions (mainly on the stage). They are: Sartre’s Les Troyennes, Cacoyannis’s Trojan Women (film), Serban’s Fragments of a Greek Trilogy, Suzuki’s Trojan Women, Harrison’s Common Chorus II, Kennelly’s The Trojan Women, Mee’s The Trojan Women 2.0, McLaughlin’s The Trojan Women, Hartman’s Troy Women, and Osofisan’s The Women of Owu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Goldhill, Simon. 2007. How to stage Greek tragedy today. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In this lively consideration of contemporary stagings of Greek tragedy, there are some interesting comments about The Trojan Women: the tone of the play is unstable, making it hard to stage; the 1995 National Theatre production tried too hard to make a specific and contemporary political point (the Greeks were portrayed as American imperialists); the seductions of casting Helen as a well-known modern temptress do not always work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Lauriola, Rosanna. 2015. Trojan Women. In Brill’s companion to the reception of Euripides. Edited by Rosanna Lauriola and Kyriakos N. Demetriou, 44–99. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A thorough study of the reception of The Trojan Women in both antiquity and the modern era, in literature, the visual arts, music, dance, on stage and screen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Morales, Helen L. 1995. Euripides’ Women of Troy at the National Theatre. Omnibus 30:5–7.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is an account by its Classics Advisor of the UK National Theatre’s production Women of Troy in 1995. The play, and the production, are seen as explicitly anti-war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Osofisan, Femi. 2006. Women of Owu. Ibadan, Nigeria: Ibadan Univ. Press.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is the text of the version of The Trojan Women—set in Nigeria in the early 19th century—that was first performed in Chipping Norton in the United Kingdom in 2004. There have been various later productions. The version is discussed by Budelmann 2007, Goff 2009, and Willis 2005.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1968. Why the Trojan Women? In Euripides: A collection of critical essays. Edited by Erich Segal, 128–131. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The philosopher explains why he decided to stage the play in Paris in 1965. He uses the play to represent the total destruction that must follow from nuclear war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Thompson, Ruth. 2006. Theatres of peace and protest: The continuing influence of Euripides’ play The Trojan Women at the nexus of social justice and theatre practice. Australasian Drama Studies 48:177–188.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This article concerns a production of The Trojan Women in November 2004 in Australia. The continued political relevance of the play is analyzed and celebrated. The context for the Australian production was the war in Iraq, more specifically the battle to take Fallujah.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Willis, A. T. 2005. Euripides Trojan Women: A 20th-century war play in performance. D. Phil. diss., Univ. of Oxford.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This doctoral thesis considers all the theatrical and film productions of the 20th century up to 1998. Part 1: stage productions of the 20th century up to World War II. Part 2: the various productions produced by Michael Cacoyannis. Part 3: 1970s avant-garde productions. Part 4: Israeli and German productions in the 1970s and 1980s. Part 5 deals with 1990s English-language productions. There is a brief afterword on productions post-2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Modern Translations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Listed below are some translations which are not aimed at classicists who wish to understand the Greek and which, while performable, were not written for specific productions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Clay, Diskin. 2004. Euripides: The Trojan Women. Newburyport, MA: Focus Classical Library.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Apart from providing a translation, this considers The Trojan Women part in a possible trilogy and its relationship to Gorgias’s Encomium of Helen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Curry, Neil. 1966. Euripides: The Trojan Women. London: Methuen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A very poetic translation, more at ease with the passionate extremes of Cassandra and Hecuba than with the more prosaic Talthybius.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Find this resource:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Modern Script Adaptations for Performance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Clearly, these versions are freer than standard translations designed to help students understand the Greek. Recent productions have seen the continuing relevance of the play in an era of long-lasting and destructive wars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                back to top

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Article

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Up

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Down