43 pages 1 hour read


Trojan Women

Fiction | Play | Adult | BCE

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Important Quotes

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“POSEIDON: I am leaving glorious Ilion, leaving my altars. A town that’s been deserted tends to neglect its gods, stint on their honors.” 

(Lines 24-26, Page 118)

This is an excerpt from the play’s Prologue, which is delivered by the sea god Poseidon. Poseidon was on Troy’s side in their war with Greece, but now characters wonder to what extent the gods drive the actions of mortals. Though Poseidon doesn’t answer this question, he does indicate to us that the gods involve themselves to some extent in mortal lives.

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“POSEIDON: That man’s an idiot who ravages cities, and consigns their holy temples and tombs—the sacred places of the dead—to stark desertion. He will die himself.”

(Lines 96-99, Page 122)

This is the conclusion of Poseidon’s Prologue, once he and Athena have decided to destroy the Greek ships.This statement could be taken as a reflection on the Athenian invasion of Melos the year before this play was produced; the Athenians killed the men and enslaved the women and children. Just as the Greeks’ impious actions anger the gods in this play, perhaps Euripides’ audience would have seen a warning that they have incurred the gods’ wrath, as well.

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“HECUBA: Sail with the changes, sail with the current, sail with your fate, not against it.”

(Lines 103-105, Page 122)

These lines, from Hecuba’s opening monologue, show us the importance of the nautical metaphor for Hecuba. The queen compares herself to a ship that is caught in a bad storm, and coaches herself to bear with it and endure what comes. The alternative, resistance, would spell destruction for her, just as it would for a ship in a storm.