43 pages 1 hour read


Trojan Women

Fiction | Play | Adult | BCE

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Lines 1-484Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Prologue Summary: Lines 1-99

The play opens, in the fallen city of Troy, with a prologue from the gods Poseidon and Athena. Poseidon tells us that he and the god Apollo had helped to build the walls of Troy, and that he had felt an affinity for the city ever since. Now, however, the city is destroyed, and Poseidon surveys the aftermath: “The gods’ groves are deserted, and their shrines stream with gore” (lines 13-14; page 118). He sees the city’s gold being loaded into Greek ships, and he contrasts the happiness of the Greeks with the misery of the Trojans.

Poseidon also points out that the women and children of Troy are part of the Greeks’ loot. He draws our attention to Hecuba, the Queen of Troy, who has been crumpled on the ground this entire time. He lists what she has lost, including many of her children, and her husband.

As Poseidon prepares to bid farewell to Troy, his sister, the goddess Athena, arrives. Though she had supported the Greeks in the war, she offers to reconcile with Poseidon, and seeks his help. A Greek hero raped one of the Trojan princesses, Cassandra, at Athena’s temple, and, “The Greeks stood by and didn’t say a word” (line 72; page 120).