Monologue Title: “The Vision”
From the Play: No More Trojan Wennen, Act I, Scene 1
Author: Justin “Justy” DeForest
Character: Cassandra, Soothsayer and Daughter of Hecuba, Queen of Troy
Setting: In Agamemnon’s hut in the Acadian Camp
Background: After the defeat of the Trojan Army, Cassandra, the youngest daughter of Queen Hecuba, is taken away to the Acadian encampment outside the city and given to the Greek Commander, Agamemnon, as a prize of war. Cassandra is a soothsayer whose prophecies are never believed by the Trojans or the Greeks although they always come true. It is early in the morning on the day that Hecuba must tell Agamemnon if the remaining Trojan Wennen will surrender peacefully to the Greeks or resist. Cassandra has just had a vision of how the day will end and rushes past the guards into Agamemnon’s hut to plead with him to change his course.
Agamemnon! Agamemnon, I had a vision this morning.
No, please listen to me!
I saw a lady of reason transformed to a tiger,
extending a raging claw.
There was a bull on a plain through whose sides
I saw a man engulfed in its belly. He tore at the beast’s flesh,
struggling desperately to free himself.
I saw a dove with blood on her wings
soar over a battlefield and cry. —
And I cried to hear her piteous sound.
There was a scorpion on the sand
like no other that crawls upon the Earth — or so it seemed —
spreading venom everywhere.
And after all these things passed before my sight,
a name repeated in my mind: Agamemnon! Agamemnon!
Don’t turn away! I know you have no time for me after sunrise.
I am merely your prisoner…Your concubine…Your whore of war!
But you must listen to me now! You alone have the power to stop
what is going to happen today. The Trojans didn’t believe my
prophecies, and it proved as much a curse on them as on me!
I’ll try to be calm…I’ll be calm. — But you must listen!
I know you don’t like when I call my rantings “prophecies.”
Forgive me! You are a king. So was my father, Priam.
Yet he ignored my warnings like any fearful, common man.
He did nothing when the Trojans derided me and disregarded my visions.
“Cassandra, the Lunatic” sounds far less frightening than
“Cassandra, the Prophet”!
“Cassandra, the Madwenn” is more easily ignored than
“Cassandra, the Seer” who foresaw Troy’s destruction
in a vision of the Wooden Horse!
What was that crazy girl thinking when she told her father,
“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!”?
But you know better, don’t you, Agamemnon?
You are Greek! Yours is the most civilized race upon the Earth! —
The darlings of Immortal Athena, Godde of Wisdom, herself!
You are far too wise to make the same mistake as a Trojan king!
Both our peoples agree that prophecy is the gift of Apollo.
But it is no gift if one must pay for it as I have.
It’s said that I promised the godde my virginity,
then refused to surrender it to him. — And that is why my warnings
go unheeded and he has allowed me to be brought to ruin.
So says the rumor mill. Its words are believed as mine are not!
(pointedly) I never promised Apollo anything except my devotion,
so you must listen to me now, Agamemnon:
Beware of goddes bearing gifts.
Your victory over Troy is not what it seems!
© Justy DeForest 1987, 2008, 2021