Short summary - The Trojan War Will Not Take Place - Jean Giraudoux

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - The Trojan War Will Not Take Place
Jean Giraudoux

The plot is a free interpretation of the ancient Greek myth. The Trojan prince Paris has already kidnapped Helen of Spartan, but the war has not yet begun. King Priam and Hector are still alive, Andromache and the prophetic Cassandra did not become slaves, the young Polyxena did not die under the sacrificial knife, Hecuba does not weep over the ruins of Troy, mourning the dead children and her husband. There will be no Trojan war, for the great Hector, having won a complete victory over the barbarians, returns to his hometown with one thought - the gates of war must be closed forever.
Andromache assures Cassandra that there will be no war, for Troy is beautiful and Hector is wise. But Cassandra has her own reasons - the stupidity of people and nature make war inevitable. The Trojans will perish because of the ridiculous belief that the world belongs to them. While Andromache indulges in naive hopes, fate opens its eyes and stretches - its steps are heard very close, but no one wants to hear them! To the joyful exclamation of Andromache, greeting her husband, Cassandra replies that this is fate, and tells her brother the terrible news that he will soon have a son. Hector confesses to Andromache that he used to love war - but in the last battle, bending over the corpse of the enemy, he suddenly recognized himself in him and was horrified. Troy will not fight the Greeks for Helen - Paris must return her in the name of peace. After questioning Paris, Hector comes to the conclusion that nothing irreparable happened: Elena was abducted while swimming in the sea, therefore, Paris did not dishonor the Greek land and the marriage house - only Elena's body was vilified, but the Greeks have the ability to turn any unpleasant one into a poetic legend for them a fact. However, Paris refuses to return Elena, citing public opinion - all Troy is in love with this beautiful woman. Decrepit elders climb the fortress wall in order to have at least one eye look at it. Hector is convinced of the truth of these words very soon: Priam, whitened with gray hair, shames young Trojan soldiers who have forgotten how to appreciate beauty, the poet Demokos calls for the compilation of hymns in her honor, the scientist Geometer exclaims that only thanks to Elena the Trojan landscape acquired perfection and completeness. Only women stand up for peace: Hecuba is trying to appeal to healthy patriotism (it is indecent to love blondes!), And Andromache extols the joys of hunting - let men exercise their valor by killing deer and eagles. Trying to break the resistance of his fellow countrymen and relatives, Hector promises to persuade Elena - she will of course agree to leave to save Troy. The beginning of the conversation gives Hector hope. It turns out that the Spartan queen is only able to see something bright and memorable: for example, she never managed to make out her husband Menelaus, but Paris looked great against the sky and looked like a marble statue - although recently Elena began to see him worse. But this does not mean at all that she agrees to leave, since she does not manage to see her return to Menelaus.
Hector paints a colorful picture: he himself will be on a white stallion, the Trojan warriors - in purple tunics, the Greek ambassador - in a silver helmet with a crimson plume. Can't Elena see this bright midday and dark blue sea? But does she see the glow of the conflagration over Troy? A bloody battle? A disfigured corpse drawn by a chariot? Could it be Paris? The queen nods: she cannot see her face, but she recognizes the diamond ring. Does she see Andromache mourning Hector? Elena does not dare to answer, and an enraged Hector vows to kill her, if she does not leave - even if everything around will become completely dim, but it will be peace. Meanwhile, one after another messengers with bad news rush to Hector: the priests do not want to close the gates of the war, since the insides of the sacrificial animals forbid doing this, and the people are worried, because the Greek ships raised the flag at the stern - thus the Three inflicted a terrible insult! Hector bitterly tells his sister that behind every victory he won lies a defeat: he conquered Paris, Priam, and Elena to his will - but the world still slips away. After his departure, Elena confesses to Cassandra that she did not dare to say earlier: she clearly saw a bright red spot on the neck of Hector's son. At Elena's request, Cassandra summons Mir: he is still beautiful, but it is scary to look at him - he is so pale and sick!
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At the gates of war, everything is ready for the closing ceremony - only Priam and Hector are waiting. Elena flirts with the young prince Troilus: she sees him so well that she promises a kiss. And Demokos calls on his fellow citizens to prepare for new battles: Three had the great honor to fight not with some pitiful barbarians, but with the trendsetters - the Greeks. From now on, the city is guaranteed a place in history, for war is like Elena - both are beautiful. Unfortunately, Troy is frivolous about this responsible role - even in the national anthem, only the peaceful joys of the farmers are sung. In turn, the Geometer claims that Trojans neglect epithets and will never learn to insult their enemies. Refuting this assertion, Hecuba violently stigmatizes both ideologues, and compares war to an ugly and fetid monkey bottom. The dispute is interrupted with the appearance of the king and Hector, who has already brought the priests to their senses. But Demokos prepared a surprise: an expert on international law, Buziris, authoritatively declares that the Trojans themselves must declare war, for the Greeks positioned their fleet facing the city, and hung flags in the stern. In addition, a violent Ajax broke into Troy: he threatens to kill Paris, but this insult can be considered a trifle in comparison with the other two. Hector, having resorted to the previous method, offers Buziris to choose between a stone bag and a generous payment for labor, and as a result, the wise lawyer changes his interpretation: the flag at the stern is a tribute to the sailors' respect for the farmers, and the construction of the face is a sign of spiritual affection. Hector, who has won another victory, proclaims that the honor of Troy has been saved. Turning to a speech to the fallen on the battlefield, he appeals for their help - the gates of war are slowly closing, and little Polyxena admires the power of the dead. A messenger appears with the news that the Greek ambassador Ulysses has gone ashore. Demokos plugs his ears in disgust - the terrible music of the Greeks offends the ears of the Trojans! Hector orders to accept Ulysses with royal honors, and at this moment a tipsy Ajax appears. Trying to piss off Hector, he vilifies him with his last words, and then punches him in the face. Hector demolishes it stoically, but Demokos raises a terrible cry - and now Hector slaps him in the face. Delighted, Ajax immediately gets friendly feelings for Hector and promises to settle all misunderstandings - of course, on condition that the Trojans give Elena back.
Ulysses begins negotiations with the same requirement. To his great amazement, Hector agrees to return Elena and assures that Paris did not even touch her with a finger. Ulysses ironically congratulates Troy: in Europe there is a different opinion about the Trojans, but now everyone will know that the sons of Priam are worthless as men. There is no limit to the indignation of the people, and one of the Trojan sailors paints in colors what Paris and Elena were doing on the ship. At this moment, the messenger Iris descends from the sky, in order to proclaim the will of the gods to the Trojans and Greeks. Aphrodite orders not to separate Helen from Paris, otherwise there will be a war. Pallas orders to immediately separate them, otherwise there will be a war. And the lord of Olympus Zeus demands to separate them without separating them: Ulysses and Hector must, remaining face to face, resolve this dilemma - otherwise there will be a war. Hector honestly admits that he has no chance in a verbal duel. Ulysses replies that he does not want to fight for Elena - but what does the war itself want? Apparently, Greece and Troy were chosen by fate for a mortal battle - however, Ulysses, being curious by nature, is ready to go against fate. He agrees to take Elena, but the way to the ship is very long - who knows what will happen in these few minutes? Ulysses leaves, and then a drunken Ajax appears to smithereens: without listening to any exhortations, he tries to kiss Andromache, whom he likes much more than Elena. Hector is already swinging his spear, but the Greek still retreats - and then Demokos bursts in with a cry that the Trojans have betrayed. For just one moment, the shutter speed changes Hector. He kills Demokos, but he manages to shout that he has become a victim of violent Ajax. The enraged crowd can no longer be stopped by anything, and the gates of war slowly open - behind them Elena kisses Troilus. Cassandra announces that the Trojan poet is dead - henceforth the word belongs to the Greek poet.