Andromache in Euripides
Andromache is a character in an ancient Greek playwright called Euripides. The old play revolves around the plight of Andromache who is the wife of the late Trojan hero named Hector. She spent most of her life married to Hector, and when he met his death on the battlefield, she became Achilles son concubine whose name was Neoptolemus. The irony in this story comes in whereby Achilles killed Andromache's husband yet she goes ahead to be a concubine to his son. As if this was not enough, Andromaches son was murdered by being thrown off the Trojan walls because Achilles feared that he would grow up and feel the need to avenge his father. In the ancient times, women were considered as property, and for this reason, Andromache was made a slave of Neoptolemus. It was not long before the two bore a son and named him Molossus. However, because Andromache was just a slave cum concubine, Neoptolemus could not marry him and instead settled for Hermione as she was the royal daughter of King Menelaus. Hermione began being jealous of the relationship that these two shared, and as a result, she set out to end Andromache. On realizing this, she feared for her life and that f her son by fleeing.
Andromache in Aeneid
In Virgils Aeneid, we meet Andromache once again. Here, she is a survivor of the siege of Troy and the cross path with Aeneas in his wanderings. They exchange pleasantries and soon have a connection. It is at this point that Andromache opens up to Aeneas and tells him of the ordeal that begot her while back in Troy. Aeneas also shares his story of how the Greek tricked them into entering their kingdom when they let a wooden horse into their territory. Little did they know that the belly of the horse was hollow and it carried a fleet of soldiers. Upon entering the kingdom, the soldiers unleashed war and started burning Trojan into ashes. He recalls how he narrowly escaped death and the very fact that he is alive to tell it is little luck and Gods grace. Aeneas was assured by the gods that a better future awaited him in Italy and all he had to do was to be alive for it. It is on this journey that he meets with Andromache, and she directs him to his desired destination while accompanying him.
Comparison of Andromache in the Two Plays
In both plays, Andromache represents the well-valued cultures and beliefs of the ancient Greece and Rome. The ancient Greece did not have a place for the woman in their society. The roles of women in these two areas during this period were minor, and they were belittled by the society. They were viewed as being different from men both socially and biologically. Therefore, their roles were primarily in the family line as opposed to political. As a fact, this was the time when the saying, women are to be seen not heard, was famous and very relevant. Nevertheless, the 19th century presented the women with better roles and a life outside their home. Andromache is a representation of the plight of women in the ancient times. She is depicted as a suffering soul whose fate was in the hands of man. It is evident in the first story when her family was torn apart, and there is nothing she could do about it. Worse still, she ended up being a concubine of the son of his husbands murderer.
In the early Greece and Rome, the roles of women were primarily subordinate and took care of the family. House chores were their essential duties and those who dared to work in the industries, mines, and factories were paid almost a third of what the men were. Women were treated and regarded like the lesser humans in this period. Most of their social and economic activities were lightweight, and their expectations could never be too high. Before the French Revolution and subsequently the Industrial Revolution, women had comfortably taken their part in the society. Andromache comes off as a subordinate to man. First, he was taking care of his husband, then Neoptolemus after his spouses death in Euripides. In Aeneid, she acts as a guide and company to Aeneas. Her roles and duties are those of a helper, and this is in line with the culture and values in ancient Greek and Rome.
However, there are a few notable differences in the two. Whereas in Euripides she comes off as desperate and a slave, in Aeneid she is in control of her life and can do whatever she wants. In the first play, she had no say in the way her life was being handled. In fact, her being voiceless makes her lose a son. In the second play, however, she stands for what is hers and makes calculated moves to save her second son. She escapes with him and helps Aeneas find his way to Italy where a great future awaited him.
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