11.28.2010

Some Greek Plays

I read the three plays that make up Aeschylus' Oresteia, and I read Jean-Paul Sartre's adaptation of Euripides' The Trojan Women. They all center around the consequences to the victors and the vanquished of the Trojan War (warning: a subject I don't know much about.) Cassandra is in both Agamemnon and The Trojan Women, and I keep thinking about how great her story is: a prophetess who speaks the truth but whom no one believes! Aeschylus makes her fearful of her coming fate, but in Euripides she's kind of insane and goes willingly with Agamemnon because she (accurately) foresees that the Greeks may have destroyed Troy, but they don't really "win" since their destinies are just as shitty: most of them would drown returning home, Odysseus has a ten-year return trip, and Agamemnon (spoiler alert) gets murdered by his wife (who was pissed because he had sacrificed their daughter to charm the contrary winds, thus letting the Greeks sail to Troy), who in turn (spoiler alert) gets murdered by their son to avenge the father's death.

The other thing that is apparent in both stories is that everyone, whether Greek or Trojan, hates Helen, pretty much blaming her for the whole damn war. In The Oresteia, she and Clytemnestra are "twin disasters" for Greece; she is a character in The Trojan Women, and Hecuba paints her as an opportunistic whore. If I were to write a musical version of these events, I'd call it Fuck you, Helen!

The Trojan Women was the more moving of the two, but it's hard to tell if this is due to a more liberal translation. Anyway, the line about Troy stayed with me over the weekend in NJ: "Its glory was that it was home."

2 comments:

mike said...

I think I would have to write a reprisal musical called Paris, tu me fais chier! Really, I can't stand that guy.

I'm not sure why it's in French. Maybe I will set it in Vichy France with a cabaret.

Brian said...

LOL let's do this. And the Scenary for Best Musical of 2011 goes to...