Euripides' Trojan Women exemplifies the cruelty and painful consequences of war, and how they affect women by leaving them powerless and without choices. Several episodes in the play illustrate this loss of choice and power, the death of Astyanax, the sexual slavery of Cassandra and Andromache, and the ultimate irony of Hecuba's slavery to Odysseus.
The death of Andromache's son Astyanax is symbolic of the final death of Troy and her brave heroes. Talthybius tells Andromache and the other Trojan women that A hero's son could not be allowed to live. (Euripides, The Trojan Women. page 274) By this Talthybius means that the Greeks will spare no aspect of Troy. It also seems to show some fear on the side of the Greeks, that Astyanax may grow up to carry on Hector's legacy. What were you afraid of, that it made you kill this child so savagely? That Troy, which fell, might be raised from the ground once more?
[...] The strength of Hecuba's character lies in her ability to endure emotional hardships. They affect her, but they do not destroy her completely, and they do not stop her from trying to “lighten the hearts” of the other women, though she herself goes to Odysseus “stunned with terror.” (page 253) In the Trojan women, Euripides shows the reader the gruesome implications of war, aside from the glory and grandeur that it is usually marked by. The reality in the Trojan women [...]
[...] This taking of Cassandra for a (or sexual slave) is seen as being quite normal, and as Talthybius says, it not high favor to be brought to a king's (page 256) Yet in both the cases of Andromache and Cassandra these “marriages” are widely seen as the ultimate loss of power and status; two women who held high status in Troy are reduced to slaves for Greek men. The powerlessness of the women is further illustrated by Menelaus and Helen. [...]
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