War Propaganda in Euripides’ Trojan Women

Nikolsky Boris M.

The article disputes the commonly accepted treatment of Euripides’ Trojan Women as an antiwar tragedy written under the impression of the cruelty shown by the Athenians during the capture of Melos. First, the analysis of the dramatic structure and imagery of the play shows that its main theme is not so much the conquerors’ cruelty itself as the inevitability of the Achaeans’ retribution for the crimes committed by them against the Trojans. Second, the paper investigates the references to the then current political situation contained in the play and offers a guess that the myth about the guilt of the “Dorian” Achaeans before the Trojans and the punishment awaiting them was used by Euripides for propaganda of military assistance to the residents of the Sicilian city of Egesta, who traced themselves to the Trojans, against the Dorian cities of Selinus and Syracuse.

Keywords: Euripides, tragedy, image, Athens, Sicilian expedition

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