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The Women of Troy | Essay Plans (Part 1)

THE WOMEN OF TROY: SAMPLE ESSAY PLANS (Part 1)

By Lindsey Dang

The Women of Troy itself is not a particularly difficult text as Euripides mainly focuses the five themes (warfare, suffering, gender roles, love and lust, strength and integrity) and the prompts we see rarely require us to explore other themes. However, it is fairly common to see students memorise things and get distracted from forming arguments that actually support the prompt. The following essay plans are just there to help guide you guys through the process of planning an essay. Keep in mind that there are MANY MANY ways to respond to the prompts and this is only how I would have tackled them!


In Euripides’s play ‘The Women of Troy’ all the women suffer, but Hecuba has lost the most and suffers the most. To what extent do you agree?

BP1: Indeed, the protagonist Hecuba embodies and captures the true horror of warfare as she is forced through unbearable pain and agony.

  • “howl of agony” – animal imagery
  • “dragged as a slave” – simile
  • “by birth, troy’s king and queen’ – contrast
  • “like a mother at her plundered nest” – simile

BP2: Hecuba, however, is a mere representative of the Trojan women, hence, her pain is represents the pain that other women also have to suffer.

  • Adromache ‘born royal, made slave’ – parallel with Hecuba
  • Inclusive we – the Chorus ‘wretched women’
  • ‘To die is better than life of agony’
  • ‘Butchered like an animal’

BP3: While women, as forgotten victims of war, suffer the most, undoubtedly suffer, Euripides posits that not all women are made to endure the same degree of pain.

  • “like a self-regarding schoolgirl in her mirrors of gold admiring her good looks’ – contrast with other Trojan women
  • ‘Wet with lust the moment you saw him’
  • ‘She sacks whole cities, burns houses to the ground with that bewitching smile’
  • ‘The murderess’ – ‘ten thousand men are dead for one woman’

In Euripides’ play ‘The Women of Troy’, we are warned not to rely on gods to help us. Discuss.

BP1: Through the portrayal of gods as vindictive and self serving, Euripides forewarns his contemporaries of the danger of relying on gods.

  • ‘All worship ceases, there’s no longer anything left worth gods consideration’
  • ‘I have been insulted, my temples desecrated’
  • They make ‘the Greeks’ return home a disaster’ … ‘So that the Greeks will learn their lesson’
  • ‘What good you were to us?’ – Failure to protect the vulnerable

BP2: The unreliability of the deities is also emphasised and critiqued through the uncertainty and unpredictability of human fates.

  • ‘born royal, made slave’
  • A queen ‘dragged as a slave’
  • ‘Let the wind fill our sail’ ‘all they are waiting for now is a following wind’
  • ‘the most prosperous of the cities …’ ‘desecrated; ruined’

BP3:Despite the danger of displeasing the gods, there are those who still blasphemously insult them.

  • ‘Puddles of blood smear the sanctuaries of all the gods’ – imagery
  • ‘Punish her, punish the power of gods’ ‘Destructive power of love’ – blasphemously blames the gods
  • ’Betrayers’
  • ‘He wants her because she is sacred’ – Agamemnon’s sin

Euripides’ tragedy ‘The Women of Troy’ shows that there is no winner in time of war. Discuss.

BP1: The futility of war is predominantly captured by the state of Troy in the aftermath of the war.

  • ‘Prosperous cities’ à ‘Smoking ruin’
    • ‘Oh Troy, you are lost’ ; ‘Troy, sad Troy’ – pathetic fallacy
    • ‘Plundered nest’; ‘Troy’s plundered splendor’ – (pg 28)
    • Ending – in flames = symbolism

BP2: Having portrayed the disastrous consequences of warfare on the city of Troy, Euripides also condemns the way it inflicts endless pain on innocent bystanders.

  • ’Dragged as a slave’
    • ‘Howl of agony’
    • ’What has he done in his innocence, he is guilty of nothing’
    • ‘Whole generation of women raped..’; ‘Dehumanised, reduced to a thing’
    • ’Butchered like an animal’

BP3: To advance the senseless of warfare, Euripides underlines the suffering and loss of the victors, insinuating that there is no winner in time of war.

  • ‘They kept on dying, for what reason’
    • ‘These Greeks, for the sake of one woman, and one moment of uncontrollable lust” “it cost them tens of thousands dead!”
    • “Simplest of pleasures, denied to the Greeks”
    • Juxtaposing Greeks with Trojans who “won the greatest of all glories” instead of those who had “their bodies lie in a foreign country”

Betrayal lies at the heart of ‘The Women of Troy’. Discuss.

BP1: Betrayal is the catalyst of the play, as it initiates the chain of tragedies that have no foreseeable ends.

  • ‘These Greeks, for the sake of one woman, and one moment of uncontrollable lust” “it cost them tens of thousands dead!”
  • ‘Uncontrollable lust gets the better of him’
  • ‘Because of that one woman and her love affair’
  • ‘Loyalty, duty, love? Not worth that much to [Helen], any of it’  (pg 46)

BP2: Euripides also criticises the ways in which mortals are betrayed by divine forces, capturing the sense of disillusionment that they experience

  • ‘‘What good you were to us?’ – Failure to protect the vulnerable
  • ’Betrayers’
  • They make ‘the Greeks’ return home a disaster’ … ‘So that the Greeks will learn their lesson’
  • ‘Not worth gods consideration’
  • ‘Do you care, on your radiant throne in the heaven’ (ps 49); “Do you even remember, King of gods, that we exist’ (pg 49)

BP3: Through the ways in which mortals betray and insult their own faith and religion, Euripides foregrounds the consequences of betrayal, advancing that betrayal indeed lies at the heart of TWOT.

  • ‘Puddles of blood smear the sanctuaries of all the gods’ ‘temples desecrated’ ‘all worship ceases’ – imagery
  • ‘Punish her, punish the power of gods’ ‘Destructive power of love’ – blasphemously blames the gods’
  • ‘He wants her because she is sacred’ – Agamommon’s sin
  • Helen ‘Don’t kill because the gods are diseased’ – pg 58

BP4: Betrayal indeed lies at the heart of the WOT, though Euripides also accentuates the importance of loyalty and integrity in time of adversity.

  • Hecuba ‘don’t attempt to disguise your own wickedness by accusing the immortals of such stupidity’
  • Loyalty of Talthybius – despite his sympathy for Hecuba (expressed by the use euphemism), he still complies with the orders of The Greeks army
  • Andromache ‘I spit in the face of any woman who …”

For full detailed notes, check these out!

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