The unique blend of unspoiled natural beauty and beaches and the finest surviving temples of Ancient Greece, makes Sicily a vacation destination like no other. For theatre enthusiasts, Ancient Greek Drama is also available in Syracuse.The ancient Greek playwright Euripides (480 to 406 B.C) wrote works of tragedy and drama regarding mythological characters and Greek heroines.
Picking out from his prolific list of works, this year in the Greek Theatre of Syracuse, The Trojan Women and Hecuba will intrigue the audience from 11th May to 25th June.Euripide's play analyses the fates of the royal women of Troy who are at the hands of Greek conquerors who under the pretext of saving Helen, are more deeply concerned by the rat race dominated by pride and personal ambition. In this milieu, Eurpide makes of Hecuba the central figure of the two works, the homonym tragedy Hecubas and the Trojan Women.At the end of the Trojan War after ten years of harsh fight and traumatic losses, the victorious Greeks, led by their king, Agamemnon, and the great soldier Odysseus, have destroyed the city of Troy and are returning home with the women of Troy enslaved as their war prize, amongst which there is Hecuba, who once was queen of Troy.
The play begins with Queen Hecuba devastated by the war and agonizing over the death of her husband, the king, her sons and her grandson.However, although being a spoil of war herself, she manifests her strong character and superiority as from the beginning by shouting at the women enslaved on the shore. Moreover she hates Helen for bringing so much misery to her city and her people. Hecuba decides to share the burden of war and all throughout the play she imparts her pain but at the same time gaining strength by planning a horrific revenge. Hecubas impersonates the continuity of the disorder that war brought. The spectator witnesses the gradual decomposing humanity of this dethroned queen.
The tragedy emphasises the transformation of this character form a matriarch and grieving mother to a cruel being.Last year's protagonist in the same Greek Theatre was Antigone (by Sophocles) who for twenty years accompanied her father; she is the personification of grace and patience. In contrast to Hecubas, she chose to be courageous after the great disaster of her youth without being menacing. In Antigone it was God's justice to be proved powerful in the constant battle between human and divine law. In Hecubas, attack, war, honour and revenge play a key role in Euripide's work.
Moreover, the audience will realize that history repeats itself and that people are incapable to prevent more of the same from happening as if humans have an innate inclination towards war and battle, thus instead of learning a lesson, like Hecubas, human beings tend to do worse and perpetuate devastation and causing more pain hence getting trapped in vicious circle.It is interesting to highlight that in the Port of Syracuse the Athenian fleet has been destroyed in the last action of the Peloponnesian War. Prisoners were taken in the latomie (stone quarries) placed nearby the Greek Theatre where many died of hunger and hardships.
However, Plutarco says that many survived because they could recite pieces form Euripide's works. Knowing if this really happened is secondary to the fact that poetry can save our life..
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By: Angela Rossi