An in-person lecture by Dr Salomé Paul (TCD) as part of the School of Creative Arts Research Forum.
Troy has a paradoxical position in classical culture and its reception. From the idealised city depicted in Homer’s Iliad to the barbarian city dramatised in Euripides’ Hecuba and The Trojan Women, Troy has grown into an Orientalist locus, which has captivated the “European imagination” since the 8th century B.C.E.
Based on the theory of “Performance Reception” elaborated by Edith Hall, this paper will explore the representation of Troy and the Trojans in two versions and one adaptation of Hecuba produced by Frank McGuinness (2004), Tony Harrison (2005), and Marina Carr (2015) respectively. It will show the transformation of Euripides’ Hecuba through the political frame of another of his tragedies, The Trojan Women. While the former shows the “anarchic social deviances” associated with the Barbarians during the classical period through the horrific vengeance of the Trojan queen, the latter proceeds to a “radical inversion of the moral hierarchy” between the Greeks and the Barbarians from which stems the anti-imperialist meaning of the contemporary Hecubas. Yet, a French version of Euripides’ The Trojan Women produced in the aftermath of the Algerian War seems to have been pivotal to the contemporary conception of Troy: The Trojan Women by Jean-Paul Sartre (1962-1965). This influence spreads to the re-conception of the tragic outcome. In Hecuba, the eponymous character’s metamorphosis into a wild dog sanctions her monstrous action, but in The Trojan Women, the Greeks are left unpunished for several of their crimes. In the contemporary Hecubas, the Greeks’ victory is a heinous celebration of the triumph of barbaric injustice over human rights, which alludes to the Western invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the subsequent asylum crisis.
Dr Salomé Paul completed a PhD in Drama Studies from University College Dublin and Comparative Literature from Sorbonne University. In November 2021, she received the French Government Medal and the National University of Ireland Prize for Distinction in Collaborative Degrees. Her first monograph, based on her thesis, examines versions and adaptations of Greek tragedies produced in France and Ireland during the 20th century. It was published last November in France. She was the recipient of the Irish Council Research Postdoctoral Scheme from 2020 to 2022. She is currently finishing writing a second monograph, which is under contract with Routledge and explores Marina Carr’s adaptations of Greek tragedies. Besides her research activities, she is a Teaching Assistant in Drama Studies at Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.
The School of Creative Arts Research Forum meets weekly on Mondays from 10am-11am in the Neill Lecture Theatre in Trinity Long Room Hub. The aim of the Forum is to provide a space for School researchers, both staff and postgraduate students, to share their ideas in an informal and supportive environment. It is also an opportunity for the School to hear about the research of colleagues both from within TCD and from outside the university who share our research interests. In line with the research agenda of the School, talks encompass traditional research and practice-based research.
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