Athenian Tragedy, Hekabe By Euripides Essay

1056 words - 5 pages

Today, I went to the theater and saw the play Hekabe by the playwright Euripides. I very much enjoy going to watch plays because the playwright can script the production with a different perspective that is sometimes not an agreeable one in regards to how things are done governmentally here in Athens. Although impermissible scenes were in this tragedy, it is nice to grasp a political outlook that I am not normally able to bring with me to any assemblies concerning battle.
Euripides writes about extreme mourning for a loved one lost because of war. In Pericles’ Funeral Oration, he said “Fortunate indeed are they who draw for their lot a death so glorious as that which has caused your mourning, and to whom life has been so exactly measured as to terminate in the happiness in which it has been passed” (9th Paragraph). He explained that all men are going to die anyway, and that those who lost loved ones in the war should count themselves privileged that these men chose to die in such a way as to make a sacrifice for their people and city. Basically, Pericles wanted citizens in relation to the fallen to refrain from mourning their losses because he thought that the deaths were honorable and valorous. In Hekabe, however, this is not the case.
Hekabe, the main character, is the former queen of the now fallen city of Troy. The Trojan War had just happened and her son, Polydorus, was murdered among all of the chaos because Troy lost the war and Polydorus was the one who bared gifts to King Polymestor of Thrace for the safety of his city. Soon after, Hekabe is given the news that her daughter, Polyxena, is to be sacrificed on the tomb of Achilles. She does not discover the death of her son until after Polyxena is sacrificed and that is when all hell breaks loose. Although the deaths of both of her children were heroic, Hekabe ragingly mourns and seeks the revenge to allegedly resolve the passing of her son and daughter.
I noticed immense bravery in Hekabe for wanting to avenge the deaths of her loved ones. This play let me have the perspective of being able to grieve the loss of people who I knew that died in combat and in wartime situations. It was strange to me that Euripides chose Polyxena to be sacrificed because she was originally the daughter of the Queen of Troy. In our community, in logic of war, Odysseus would be the one to be sacrificed. With that being said I find it interesting that he took that path and it makes the play that much more fascinating and ludicrous, which in turn makes it that much more entertaining.
Another part of the play that I really enjoyed was the switching of roles between the initial leading family, consisting of Hekabe and her daughter in this play, and Odysseus. Before the war, Odysseus was a slave to the royal family. After the war, he is a free person and Hekabe and Polyxena are now...

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