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Theatre / The Trojan War Will Not Take Place

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'The Trojan War Will Not Take Place (La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu) is a two-part play by French writer Jean Giraudoux, taking place at the eve of The Trojan War. The premise of the play is that many of the main characters try to prevent war, to the best of their abilities. Leading this effort is Hector, the son of Priamus, and his wife Andromache, who try to convince Paris that he is better off delivering Helen back to Menelaos. Being a man of reason, he almost succeeds, even coming to agreement with Odysseus, who actually thinks in the same vein as Hector. Unfortunately, fate is thwarting all good efforts to find a peaceful solution, and so are the elders of the city, who supports the thought of war. The Central Theme of the play is one of pacifism and anti-war, set against the strong forces that set the war in motion. A number of anachronistic references give away the fact that Giraudoux wished for his audience to connect the theme of the play to current events, as well as war in general, not solely the Trojan one.

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  • Anachronism Stew: Trenches and other sides of modern warfare and society are referenced in dialogue.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Ajax, when he comes on stage.
  • The Cassandra: Guess who.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many of Priam´s children have this trait, especially Hector and Cassandra. Even Andromache chimes in. They do this mostly when they hit back at their elders. Even Queen Hecuba has her moments.
  • Deus ex Machina: Iris, the Divine messenger of Hera, shows up towards the end of the play, stating the opinions of Aphrodite, Athena and Zeus.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: At one point, the plot hinges on whether Paris had his way with Helen during the trip from Greece to Phrygia. The sailors claim they saw everything, making peace efforts very difficult.
  • Dirty Old Man: Most of the Trojan elders come down to this, drooling over Helen. Even Priam does so, and Demodocus, the city poet, is the most prominent of them in-play.
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  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The play is full of references to World War I.
  • False Flag Attack: Referenced by Hector in the penultimate scene, when Odysseus hints that there is more to Troy than just Helen. It makes Hector quip something about staging the whole seduction to make a believable Pretext for War.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The Trojan war did take place, after all.
  • God in Human Form: Eirene, or Peace enters the stage at one point. She is pale and turns more and more transparent until she vanishes completely. Only Helen and Cassandra can see her.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Helen in-universe - making all men around her mad with desire.
  • Not So Different: Hector and Odysseus, it turns out. Both have a family to care for, and are against the war.
  • Dumb Blonde: Helen. At least she plays the part, to a point where Hector moans that the entire fate of his country is connected to a "mud-brain". On the other hand, it seems she has prophetic foresight, and turns out to be just as prophetic as Cassandra is.
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  • Only Sane Man: Hector all the way. Odysseus when he shows up is of the same mind, although older and more cynical.
  • Really Gets Around: Helen, of course. She uses some of her stage time to check out Troilus, and ends up making out with him while the war erupts around her. Paris is a good runner up.
  • Peeping Tom: Many of the elders watch Helen from the battlements. Some of them have found a better position, watching her from below...
  • Sour Supporter: Cassandra. She knows war is unavoidable, but supports her brother anyway.
  • Title Drop: Andromache in the first line of the play.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Odysseus states that some of the Greeks are in on the campaign because of this. Some of the Trojan elders are of the same mind.
  • War Is Glorious: What many of the elders think.
  • War Is Hell: What Hector thinks, and others of his generation besides.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Hector fights it with heroic effort. To no avail.
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