TRIGGER WARNING: This monologue contains allusions to sexual violence.
(NOTE: Refreshed English is used in this post.)
Monologue Title: “The Captive”
From the Play: No More Trojan Wennen
Author: Justy DeForest
Character: Helen of Troy (Queen of Sparta)
Setting: Before the ruined Palace of Ancient Troy
Background: After hearing screams coming from the River Scamander just outside the city, Helen, who has kept herself in seclusion since the death of her lover, Paris, makes an appearance before the ruined Palace of Troy to find out what has happened. She is met with contempt from Hecuba and most of the remaining Trojan Wennen. In this monologue, she attempts to curb Hecuba’s hostility towards her by claiming to have been Paris’ unwilling captive. This monologue is followed immediately by Helen’s Monologue 7B: The Manipulator.
NOTE: In presenting this monologue, no actor other than the one playing HELEN need be present on stage.
Oh, Hecuba, do you still try to tell yourself
I came to Troy willingly with your son?
I was Queen in Sparta!—What am I here?
Paris lied to me. He insisted that Aphrodite
had given me to him as a prize for his choosing
her the most beautiful Goddess on Olympus! —
That I would incur her divine wrath if I didn’t comply
and go with him. — That She would turn me into
a monster more hideous and loathsome than Medusa!
As if the Divine Feminine would submit to being judged
by any male — let alone a mortal one! But in my fear
and youth and ignorance, I believed him!
Paris was ambitious. He was not the Heir to Troy. He would
never possess the most beautiful city in the world, so he
concocted a lie to possess the world’s most beautiful wenn.
Goddes1 prove such easy scapegoats for humin trespasses!
When I was a girl, I was told Zeus was my father. That he had
come to my mortal mother in the form of a swan, and, as the
result of that unlikely union, I had been hatched from an egg.
The only things that are hatched are these absurd stories!
But on that night ten years ago, I was too frightened to protest.
Does that make me evil? Paris abducted me, Hecuba — unwillingly!
I was his captive. And once I had arrived here —to a world
where I was surrounded by Trojans who distained me —
What difference would objecting have made?
Agamemnon has now dragged your own daughter, Cassandra,
back to the Greece camp — unwillingly.
What difference would it make now if she protested?
To Prosperity, I will be known as Helen of Troy!
The face that launched a thousand ships! —
That drove men to lose their reason! —
That caused them to drop to their knees before me!
What great power I will have possessed to future Ages!
But for now, these men, Trojan or Greek,
will do to me, to Cassandra — to all the rest of you —
what they will! And the only thing that we can mitigate —
maybe — is whether they come to us in violence or in tenderness.
© Justy DeForest 1987, 2008, 2022
- Godde: (Pronounced God, plural Goddes, pronounced Gods) Gender neuter term for a deity or deities of any sex or gender, or none.)