Cassandra as a False Chorus and Her Skeuê in Euripides’ Trojan Women


  • Vasiliki Kousoulini National and Kapodistrian University of Athens



Female characters and female choruses seem to have strong bonds in Euripides’ plays, there are instances in the Euripidean corpus in which a heroine cannot interact the way she wishes with the chorus. The chorus remains almost unresponsive, despite the heroine’s efforts to involve them in a kind of choral activity. Bierl, commenting on this phenomenon, has characterized one of these heroines as a false chorus leader. This essay examines Cassandra in The Trojan Women as a false chorus leader of hymaenaios, focusing on her skeuê. Cassandra attempts to involve a female chorus in the performance of a choral song. She distorts the usual choral form and urges others to join her deviant choreia. To mark her choral activity, this solo singer is equipped with objects that reveal her intentions. Parts of her costume reveal Cassandra’s identity to other characters, the female chorus, and the audience. This paperfocuses on the verbal descriptions of the parts of the skeuê of Cassandra and its functions and argues that her descriptions reveal the character’s role as a false chorus leader to the play’s internal and external audience.

Keywords: Euripides; Trojan Women; objects; Cassandra; chorus leader; tragic skeuê