Euripides, Trojan Sympathizer

Status: published

Backtracking a little, due to the previously mentioned shippinginconsistency, I've now read the first volume of Euripides\"\". It includesAndromache, Hecuba, Trojan Women, andRhesos. I'm going to keep this post brief.

The first three plays all deal with women of Troy after the fall of Troy.Basically, after all the men are killed, the women are taken as loot. Sometimesthey are even just piled on the loot carts alongside the inanimate loot. Itmakes the Greeks look pretty bad on the surface. But at the very leastEuripides himself was certainly sympathetic to their plight. These wouldn't beeffective tragedies if there weren't some sympathy there. The plays even show agreat deal of sympathy for the Trojans generally, not just the captured women.For example, a nice bit from Trojan Women: "Now think about theTrojans. Consider how they have by far the greater glory: they died defendingtheir homeland. And those the spear cut down were carried home by loved oneswho by right prepared the corpses for burial and buried them in their ancestralearth's embrace. And those who fought and lived found comfort day by day atday's end with their wives and children, pleasures the Greeks no longer knew.And even Hector, you think his fate so terrible and cruel? Listen, the truthis, though he's dead and gone, he wouldn't be the Hector that he is to all theworld now if the Greeks had stayed home. If they had not invaded, who wouldhave known or seen how brave he was? And Paris too--whom would he have married?Not Zeus' daughter, but some nameless wife!" When's the last time our societyever did anything but spit on our defeated enemies?

The odd man out here is Rhesos. Rhesos is a Trojan ally from Thracewho got caught up battling some Scythians. Coming in at the end of the war, hecould have easily turned the tide with his great army. Unfortunately, his firstnight there, Odysseus manages to sneak into the camp and kill him. His armygoes home. Oh well.