Revisiting Greek Drama, Part 3: Post-War Troy as Metaphor for Post-Trump America

Note:  This post uses Refreshed English vocabulary and orthography.

In the first post in this three-part series, I discussed the connection between Ancient Greek religious ritual and theatrical pageantry in Western Culture. In Part 2, I revealed how my dissatisfaction with the femele characters portrayed in The Trojan Wennen of Euripides inspired me to write No More Trojan Wennen.Today, in Part 3, I will wrap up this series by discussing Post-War Troy as a metaphor for Post-Trump America.

I will also share information about Voices from Troy, a new blog series containing 12 monologues from No More Trojan Wennen,which launches Monday, April 19.


Greetings from Justicea!

At the beginning of this month, I pulled out one of my oldest full-length dramas, No More Trojan Wennen, which I had originally written back in the mid-1980s when I was a twenty-something-year-old aspiring playwright. Based on The Trojan Wennen of Euripides, the drama takes place in the once great city of Troy in Asia Minor in the aftermath of a devastating 10-year-long war, which has left the city in ruins.

The war had been precipitated by the abduction of Helen, Queen of Sparta, by Paris, a Trojan prince — an action that subsequently brought the Greek invasion forces to Troy’s shores in a thousand ships.

Throughout the conflict, which took place just beyond the city walls, the Trojan wennen watched from the ramparts as their men were killed before their eyes in brutal battles. Once the Greeks managed to get inside the city, most of the old men and children were killed, and several of the wenns were dragged back to the Greek camp as unwillingly concubines.

Now, the Trojan wennen who remain in Troy are traumatized but determined to do what they must in order to avoid being taken away by the Greeks, who are making ready to sail back to their homeland.  

Similarities Between Post-War Troy & Post-Trump America

It had been a long time since I had revisited No More Trojan Wennen, and this April, I read it with fresh eyes. — Eyes that, over the last four years, had watched as so much of what so many of us value most about the United States was reduced to a metaphorical ruin by policy assaults on both environmental protections and the Wall of Separation between Church and State; by mounting social tensions and the widening economic divide; by unbridled hate-speech; and by the false, but incessant, rumor of a rigged election that culminated in the storming of the Capitol Building on January 6.

While racism, misogyny, LGBTQIA-phobia, and Christian Nationalism have always been present in the United States, these “Four Horsemen of Hatred” loosened the reigns of their rancor in an unprecedentedly public and shameless way, inspired by the person who held the highest elected office and the most powerful position in the land. — The very person who had sworn to perserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. — The President of the United States, himself!

Perhaps, the ROT (i.e., Reign of Trump) is over, but its aftermath remains. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost to COVID-19; Asian Americans are attacked, blamed for being the cause of what Donald Trump insisted on calling the “China Flu”; and law enforcement’s use of lethal force against African-Americans has become an expected part of the news cycle. Confidence in the stability of our government has been shaken. Even the belief that a majority of Americans have the sufficient cognitive skills needed to participate as competent citizens in the democratic process has been called into question.

Like the Trojan Wennen, many Americans have been left traumatized and demoralized by years of upheaval, and we are asking ourselves if we really have the power to do anything to turn the situation around.

The Healing Power of Theater

In writing about Theater in the first post of this three-part series, I stated that “the dramatic representation of humin thought and interaction through performed monologue and dialogue remains one of the most powerful and popular pageants through which we mortals continue to come to a better understanding of ourselves, our society, and the world in which we live.” Therefore, as a playwright and theater artist, I wanted to make portions of No More Trojan Wennen accessible to readers as a means by which to identity and exam some of the unsettling emotions that so many of us are feeling at this time and to start the process of healing.

Voices from Troy

I have pulled several monologues from No More Trojan Wennen and have gathered them into a collection, which I call Voices from Troy. I will post a few monologues from this collection on this blog site in April for National Poetry.

A list of featured characters whose monologues appear in Voices from Troy collection are included below.

In the Voices from Troy collection, readers will find monologues by or about the following characters:

Hecuba, Queen of Troy:  The capable and compassionate ruler of the handful of Middle-Eastern wennen who remain in the ruins of Troy.

Agamemnon, King of Mycenae: The arrogant commander of a Greek army made up of misogynistic white European males whose Greek Ideal leads them to consider themselves the only civilized people upon the Earth and to dismiss the Trojans as barbarians.

Cassandra, Queen Hecuba’s daughter & Agamemnon’s concubine:  A disbelieved soothsayer who has seen the fates of all participants in this drama.

Helen of Troy:  The Queen of Sparta, whose abduction by Hecuba’s son, Paris, brought the Greek forces to Troy’s shore. The true first captive of the Trojan War, Helen is hated by the Trojan wennen, who accuse her of having fled Greece with Paris willingly.

Andromache, Hecuba’s daughter-in-law: The widow of Troy’s Crown Prince, Hector, she is still lamenting the lost of her spouse when faced with a new reason to grieve.

Nicodice, a young Trojan spear maiden: Trusted by Hecuba and a member of her personal guard, idealistic Nicodice, of mixed Trojan and Greek heritage, has her allegiance claimed and contested by Trojans and Greeks alike.

Philotimos, a young Greek soldier and suitor to Nicodice: An idealist whose observations of the Greeks’ behavior and his conversations with Nicodice have led him to question the validity of the Greek Ideal.

Hafiye, another young Trojan spear maiden: Unlike Nicodice, she is a pragmatist whose only concern at present is saving herself from bondage by whatever means is necessary.

Apollo, God of Reason (or the Personification of Reason): Traditionally considered by the Trojans to be the Patron of Troy, Apollo is an Olympian who watches the conflict between Trojans and Greeks from above and comments on the futility of humin battles.

Chorus of Trojan Wennen: A group of three wenns—a maid, a mother, and a crone—who together speak the concerns of the Trojan Wenen.

A Chorus for Justice

I believe that the monologues I have selected for the Voices from Troy series, although written in the 1980s, still sound fresh today. I hope you will agree. Perhaps, they retain a timeless quality because the struggle for freedom, respect, and autonomy continues today as it did forty years ago when I first wrote No More Trojan Wennen, as it did 2,500 years ago when Euripides first staged The Trojan Wennen.

The voices of the Trojans echo through the millennia. They are heard today in the voices of the #Me Too and #Black Lives Matter movements. All together they unite in a Chorus for Justice, for Justice can only be gained by working together; it can only be maintained by watching over it together.

I share some of these monologues so that they may join in the Justice Chorus.

Peace & Siblinghood,

Justy DeForest, GFJ Blogger

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