43 pages 1 hour read


Trojan Women

Fiction | Play | Adult | BCE

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Character Analysis


Hecuba (also called “Hekabe” in some translations) is the Queen of Troy, wife of King Priam, and mother of 19 children, including Cassandra, Hector, and Paris. When she was pregnant with Paris, Hecuba dreamed that she gave birth to a flaming torch covered in snakes. Taking this as an omen that her child would grow up to destroy Troy, Hecuba gave the baby to an old man and instructed him to kill Paris. The old man left Paris on a mountainside to die, where a shepherd found and raised the baby. Paris eventually returned to Troy and was accepted as Hecuba and Priam’s son.

Hecuba is on stage for the entirety of this play. She is an old woman now, and has just witnessed the destruction of her city by the Greeks, and the murder of her husband and many of her children. Hecuba is a deeply sympathetic figure: she is physically weak, relying on a cane to walk, and occasionally collapsing to the ground. She leads the Chorus and the Trojan princesses in a series of lamentations over what they have lost and the life of degrading servitude that awaits them in Greece.

Despite her deep misery, Hecuba shows a spark of optimism.