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Who the heck are these people?!

 

For the made-up chorus, I looked into Greek names and their meanings.

 

Sethos: Means “Dazzle” which I thought was perfect for Hecuba’s flamboyant intern

Oinone: Means “wine”…more on Oinone later.

Dorkas: Means “gazelle”. I really just liked the name for the sweet but simple “housewife”. I pictured a deer in the headlights…or gazelle in the headlights, if you will. And it really is pronounced “dThor-kawz”.

Agathe: Means “good”, which I interpreted as “knows what’s good for everyone”.

 

These names come from Greek history or myths, but didn’t belong in the original play.

 

Clytemnestra: Wife of Greek general Agamemnon. 

Polydorus: Son of Hecuba sent away at the start of the war for his own safety.

Polymestor: King of Thrace, and the man Polydorus is sent to stay with. A supposed friend o’ the family.

Hades: God of the underworld. Also, the name of the underworld.

Orpheus: A musician and son of a king and a muse. When his wife Euridice dies, he goes down to Hades to try to bring her back…it’s a sad story…look it up!

Hercules: Or Heracles, the famous strong man and demi-god. Brought back from Hades the three-headed dog Cerebus and Theseus…

Theseus: Most famous for slaying the Minotaur (also a good story!) but also with his friend Pirithous decided to kidnap daughters of Zeus, Helen and Persephone…didn’t go well.

Sarpedon, Glaucus, Memnon: Generals who helped the Greeks win the war. Memnon was supposedly a hottie.

Neoptolemus: Son of Achilles, the warrior who kills Hector.

Nestor: Also a general who helped the Greeks. An old man by the time the war happened often depicted as giving lots of long-winded advice.

 

Inside Scoop

Poseidon (God of ocean, land, bringer of earthquakes creator of the horse, etc) & Athena

(goddess of wisdom, war & handicrafts….seriously, etc)  Uncle and niece, respectively, always had a contentious relationship. Family, am I right? She won over the people of Attica with the gift of the olive tree. He never forgave her. He is also mad she helped the Achaeans, or Greeks, win the Trojan war, cause…well...it’s super complicated and I suggest you read about it, but he’s mad. Then Athena get mad at the Greeks for desecrating her temples in Troy…again, super complicated, and asks her uncle for help.

 

What’s up with Cassandra?! 

The god Apollo became enamored of the young princess and bestowed upon her the gift of prophecy. But, he got a little to “handsy” and she spurned him. Unable to take back the gift, he then cursed her so that no one would ever believe her prophecies. 

 

Odysseus

Yes, THAT Odysseus of the Odyssey. Famously creative and crafty, a favorite of Athena, he was the one who thought of the horse thing. Read the Odyssey…it’s good.

 

The Fall of the House of Atreus

Cassie “sees” that once she and Agammenon are back in Mycenae, Aggie’s wife, Clytemnestra and her boyfriend, kill them both. Probably for a number of reasons, but mainly cause Agammenon killed their daughter, Iphigenia, to appease the goddess Artemis so she would give them wind to sail to Troy for the war….whew! 

 

Hecuba Being Turned into a Dog

This one is trickier. Another play, Hecuba, has her gouging out the eyes of Polymester for killing her son. Harder to find the actual origin of her being turned into a dog by the gods due to her…bitchy behavior, but there is a promontory Cynossema (Dog’s Monument) on the Hellespont (now known as The Dardenelles) named after this event.

 

The Dream About Paris

Yes, so, when Hecuba was pregnant with Paris, she had a dream about giving birth to a fiery torch covered in snakes. A prophet told her, it mean the unborn child would bring about the fall of Troy and should be killed immediately. When he was born, named Alexander, they couldn’t do it and gave it to a servant to kill. Who also couldn’t do it, and left it out to die. Later found, and raised by a shepherd, he was renamed Paris and then….

 

The Judgement of Paris or The Golden Apple

….he was chosen by Zeus to judge a contest between goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. They all claimed to be the rightful recipient of a Golden Apple engraved with “To the Fairest”. All three made promised to him if they were chosen. Aphrodite won, however, by granting him “the most beautiful woman in the world”, which was, you guessed, Helen. Who was already married to Menelaus, who…
 

The Kidnapping of Helen

…had welcomed Paris to Sparta on a diplomatic mission. Menelaus, however, had to leave to attend the funeral of his grandfather, leaving Paris alone with Helen…oops. Accounts vary as to if she was abducted or left willing.
 

In closing…the Greeks have some really fun stories to answer all types of questions about weather, fate, geographical oddities….just like all cultures. And, considered being the birthplace of modern theatre, it would be good to read some of plays from these brilliant writers.