Sunday, April 26, 2009

Andromache...Will you ever be happy?

I was looking up at my shelf at all the books we’ve read this semester, and realized that I’d only read 2 out of the 10 Euripidean plays. So call me a nerd, but I took the book down and thought I’d read another play or two. So I started reading Andromache, which is set after she is sailed over to the home of Achilles to be enslaved. Surprisingly, she was still unhappy about one thing or another…namely the sacking of her city, the killing of her husband, and her enslavement in the house of her husbands murderer…anything missing? Yeah I thought so too, how about the sacrifice of her child! The whole premise of the Trojan Women, ya know, ringing a bell?

Now I don’t know if I’m interpreting this wrong, or if I’m misunderstanding the play. Maybe the fact that tidbit is omitted is because it is already the focus of another tragedy, and Euripides simply wished to carry out Andromache’s awful fate again and again. But I found it kind of hilarious that in this play, Andromache is “again” faced with the decision to either sacrifice herself, or her son (the child she had with her master). This sounded oddly familiar to me. She was weeping and wailing about how horrid her life has turned out to be, and how it can’t get any worse than this (even though it always does), so on and so forth. And it just felt like I was reading a knock-off version of the Trojan Women a little bit. Like I had seen an awesome movie like Pirates of The Caribbean, and was then forced to watch the second, and third, which were total downgrades from the first and riding off the coattails of the original.

Now I’ll admit, I didn’t actually finish the play, because after Menelaus came in and told her that even though she gave herself up for her child (which is less dramatic in the first place because she didn’t have that option in the other play), his evil daughter might still kill her son, I gave up. I felt like it was a trick, only to make Andromache suffer even more, so I could have the pleasure of reading about her misfortunes for another fifteen pages. I decided to not have that pleasure, and instead write this blog and pretend that the sufferings of Andromache ended with her ultimate sacrifice in the other play.

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