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Among surviving Greek tragedies only Euripides' Trojan Women
shows us the extinction of a whole city, an entire people. Despite its grim theme, or more likely because of the centrality of that theme to the deepest fears of our own age, this is one of the relatively few Greek tragedies that regularly finds its way to the stage. Here the power of Euripides' theatrical and moral imagination speaks clearly across the twenty-five centuries that separate our world from his. The theme is really a double one: the suffering of the victims of war, exemplified by the woman who survive the fall of Troy, and the degradation of the victors, shown by the Greeks' reckless and ultimately self-destructive behavior. It offers an enduring picture of human fortitude in the midst of despair. Trojan Women
gains special relevance, of course, in times of war. It presents a particularly intense account of human suffering and uncertainty, but one that is also rooted in considerations of power and policy, morality and expedience. Furthermore, the seductions of power and the dangers both of its exercise and of resistance to it as portrayed in Trojan Women
are not simply philosophical or rhetorical gambits but part of the lived experience of Euripides' day. And their analogues in our own day lie all too close at hand.
This new powerful translation of Trojan Women
includes an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, a glossary, and suggestions for further reading.