What is right with this “comic” of Euripides's timeless and irreplaceable drama, The Trojan Women, is what was always right about a play that is relentlessly relevant. Carson's translation, spare and clear, distills the language of the original but keeps what is important, including some mouth-puckeringly wry lines. There is barbed wit and heartbreaking lullaby, sometimes coinciding on one page. Thus, the chorus comments, “Troy, you made a bad deal: / ten thousand men for a single coracle of cunt appeal.” In the middle of the same page, the Greek herald Talthybius addresses Hector and Andromache's infant son Astyanax, whom he has come to carry off so that the baby can be thrown from the battlements: “Come along, little mushroom, / little rootlet, little sip, little milk fly, little asterisk, little welkin, / little silhouette, little sugar bubble—/ let go of your mother. / She's broken.” Then lower down...
The Trojan Women: A Comic
Rachel Hadas, Board of Governors Professor of English Emerita at Rutgers University–Newark, is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, essays, and translations, including most recently Piece by Piece (selected prose) and Pandemic Almanac (poems).
Rachel Hadas; The Trojan Women: A Comic. Common Knowledge 1 January 2023; 29 (1): 121–122. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-10332961
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