This is an English translation of Euripides' tragedy Hecuba about Hecuba's grief over her daughter and son's deaths and the revenge she enacts over her son's death. Focus Classical Library provides close translations with notes and essays to provide access to understanding Greek culture.
Euripides' Hecuba is one of the few tragedies that evoke a sense of utter desolation and destruction in the audience. The drama focuses on the status of women, those who are out of power and at the margins of society, by enacting the sufferings of Hecuba. With the city of Troy fallen, Hecuba and Polyxena, her daughter, are enslaved to Agamemnon. Hecuba is despondent with the news that Polyxena is chosen to be sacrificed at the tomb of Achilles. After the sacrifice, the body of her son Polydorus, already a ghost at the start of the drama, is discovered. Polymestor, a king in Thrace who Hecuba sent Polydorus to for safety reasons, murdered Polydorus for his gold. With the tacit complicity of Agamemnon, Hecuba plots her revenge against Polymestor. What transpires next has lasting implications for all involved, including a dramatic trial scene and Hecuba's ultimate metamorphosis.