[I don’t even–class project with weird formatting. Enjoy. Happy Halloween!]
Paris is on stage, farming. Zeus enters from stage left. As Zeus begins to stop, Paris stops and looks at him.
Paris! Son of Priam and Hecuba,
Thou art the best to aid me in my plight.
Yesterday, all was well—a peaceful day.
We were gathered for a celebration!
The wedding Of Peleus and Thetis—
A joyous time! Suddenly, it all changed.
Discord attacked, angered that she was spurned
That’s when tragedy struck. Oh, woe is me!
Furious, she challenged three of beauty
She threw a golden apple to the ground,
As it rolled, all could read what was inscribed:
“To the fairest”.
A deadly silence fell—
As all the gods watched in horror and shock,
Inevitably, vanity prevails.
In that moment, I conceived how mortals
Must feel when they hear the call of thunder
Knowing that my lightning will soon follow.
Eris had destroyed joy—the goddesses
Destroyed wedded bliss as they fought for their
But what of my role in this?
After the wedding, consternation struck.
They ran to me, demanding that I choose
Who was to keep and receive the apple.
My daughters, my wife! How could I choose one?
I would incite the wrath of the others!
That is why I came to you, Paris. You,
Of all men, have a grasp on aesthetics.
Of three beautiful women—you choose.
Zounds! How am I to accomplish this task?
I—I am only a mere mortal man—
It’s impossible to choose between three
beautiful, vivacious, young goddesses!
Face the vicious wrath of the other two?
They will tear me apart, like a cyclone!
I am not able enough for this task.
You must go through with this task, I demand
It! No other man may undertake this.
Only you, Paris. This is in your hands.
Zeus exits and Paris stays there, dumbstruck. Enter a chorus, chanting as the sun begins to rise.
Paris! Oh, Paris. A noble young man.
One of virtues, what will become of him?
Cursed with a choice no mortal can make!
No man has the wisdom, the love, the power!
A weight like Atlas’ crushing his shoulders.
His task—too great, the consequence—massive!
His will is stolen, the choice—the great price.
A hawk swooping in on innocent prey,
That’s what this choice is—a hideous beast.
If anyone can make this choice, ‘tis he.
It is Paris, the brave, the mighty man!
An army of knowledge in his right hand.
Enter Hera, Paris, Aphrodite, and Athena.
I, equal among all mortals, fit to
decide the fairest in all of the world?
A difficult task for all and any,
as mighty Zeus called upon me to be
arbiter. These three goddesses, fairest
over mortals, fairest even over
gods, hence dispute the fairest of them all.
Hera, wife of Zeus, goddess of women
and sacred marriage, has promised me, I,
humble Paris, the gift of limitless
Athena, great daughter of Zeus,
goddess of wisdom, war, and courage, has
promisèd me, noble Paris, the gift
of unmatched, unparalleled combat skill.
Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty,
has promisèd me, great Paris, the gift
of the most beautiful woman in the world.
I, as the youngest son of Priam and
Hecuba, cannot accept Hera’s promise,
as I cannot hope to compete with he,
Hector, mighty brother of mine, over
control of my father’s kingdom. I love
him as such, and taking such a right would
surely violate our trust. I, as the
brother of Hector the Great, as I shan’t
hope to best him in battle. His hard work
and toil have paid him in full, granting
him the fierce armament of the art of war.
Alas, his wife Andromache. Although
considered a beauty among Priam’s
daughters, even she cannot compete with
Helen, the goddess mortal.
mighty king Tyndareus, wife of flame-haired
Menelaus, naught but the supreme
goddesses can compete with her beauty, and
even so, are still dwarfed by her glory.
I, as the brother of Hector, at last
will best my beloved brother if I
were to accept goddess Aphrodite’s
offer of the hand of Helen. Thus, I,
Ultimate Paris, am decided, I,
Glorious Paris, want, and shall have her!
This apple of the fairest, Kallisti,
belongs to you, Aphrodite, goddess of love!
Foolish mortal, do you really wish to
bring upon you the wrath of Athena,
goddess of war? I plague you, I curse you
for your stupidity, I curse you
for your blindness, I curse you for your deed!
May your city, family, and friends perish!
Paris, son of Priam, your choice was rash.
You shall forevermore be in the shade
of your siblings, and your boon shall be short lived.
I worry not.
A perfect man with a
perfect bride should need not bother with such
trivial things as curses. I am great,
greater than mortal men, and soon the world
shall see. The world shall look upon my valor.
All exit. Paris reenters with Hector and Priam.
Great father, mighty brother, I come with
tidings of joy. Goddesses Hera,
Athena, and Aphrodite quarreled
over the right to be called the fairest.
Hera, goddess of women, promised me
power, power even more vast than yours,
father, or yours, brother.
goddess of wisdom, promised me wisdom,
granted to men of years even greater
than yours, father, or your many years in
of love, promised me the hand of Helen,
the most beautiful woman in the world.
In all respect, dear brother and father,
Even fairer than mother or lovely
Andromache. Thus, I was decided,
And decided to have Helen as mine.
My son, your bride will bring pride to our great
family. However, my son, your choice
may have been unwise. Hera, wife of Zeus,
is not one to be trifled with. Neither
is Athena, daughter of Zeus, ideal
of wisdom, who would surely curse you for
your decision. Were these in your thoughts as
you chose your prize?
Father speaks the truth.
Those in power are not to be trifled,
and especially not the Olympic
goddesses. Choosing the aesthetic choice
may have been the wrong one. Perhaps choosing
the gift of Hera, limitless power,
or Athena, the great gift of wisdom,
would have prevented such a tragedy.
After all, what could Helen possibly
do to protect you from the wrath of the
gods? Had you chosen Hera, an entire
continent would be your shield from their curse.
If you had chosen Athena, you could
have protected yourself, no matter which
foe, mortal or invincible goddess.
I fear not, for their curses were empty.
I go now to retrieve my prize. I ask
a favor of you, great father. I shall
woo Helen, and when I return, you shall
have a new daughter. Though lovely goddess
Aphrodite is on my side, I ask
for a ship of skilled soldiers. One cannot
be entirely careless; we are not gods,
and acting as such is dumb delusion.
I shall grant your request. My son, travel
to the land of flame-haired Menelaus
and steal the wind that fuels his mighty strength.
An inferno lacking the breath of life
is naught but a smoldering, useless coal.
All exit. Helen, Menelaus, and Paris
Welcome, guest-friend, for what purpose have you
paid this visit? A mere friendly trip or
one of bearing news of joy or sorrow?
Great King Menelaus, I come bearing
news of grief. Your father, great king of Crete,
has passed into the void. I, having fresh
arrived in Crete, was best prepared to leave
immediately to relay news to you.
A grand funeral procession to start
in just two days, you, the greatest son of
his, your burning red hair like your spirit,
should deliver his body to rest.
your words bring tragedy to my aching
heart. I thank you for bringing this news to me,
as another of noble birth, rather
than a lowly messenger. But to launch
a ship in just two days, I have not the
means, nor heart, to reach my destination.
I have already prepared sev’ral ships
to escort you to his ceremony
with great haste. I shall not accompany
you, as I must return to Troy. Great king,
I pray for your journey, and safe return.
Dear friend, your name shall be remembered by
my people forever, for not only
mine, but the gratitude of my people.
Menelaus exits. Paris draws closer to Helen.
Do you not go with your husband to see
his father? A man like him relies on
a woman like you, mortal goddess Helen.
You flatter me, oh beautiful Paris.
Oh, how I long for the thrill of adventure.
My husband, golden Menelaus, fought
hundreds of suitors in order to win
my hand with the oath of the horse, yet I
begin to question the validity
of my father’s decision. Ajax and
Odysseus, both worthy men, would have
Been much better suited to rule Sparta.
Menelaus has become dull and lifeless,
unlike the active man he promised my
father he would be. I long for the touch
of a man whose actions speak for him, not
only his words.
Then come, fairest Helen.
Come with me to Troy and be my bride, and
together, we shall have a life worthy
of a tale told long after we are gone.
Paris and Helen exit. Enter Paris and Aphrodite as they deliver an inspiring speech to the Soldiers.
Now my warriors, blood of the empire,
Now is the time for righteousness and justice
Our city resonates with the smoke of
Forges and the smell of incense, offering
for the gods. The hour has come at last for
Helen to be freed from her prison at
the hands of Menelaus, and to ascend
to her rightful throne as empress of Troy.
Both in the common crises of our life
And in the deeds that make men noble,
In that we have a common foe,
Those who commit injustice to others.
Would you ever be satisfied knowing
that injustice lurked in the hearts of men,
that they were able to do evil?
If not, lend Paris your aid and your arms!
Glory Oh! arms of golden Apollo,
Blazing down to Earth in all your glory
Bless us, strengthen us, lend us all your power
Now is the hour in which the cruel King Menelaus
Shall feel the stones of his palace himself
Tremble with the awesome wrath of the gods.
Now, my men, my faithful, stalwart, men
Let us prepare for the voyage which shall
At last free our land from the tyranny
That desecrates and despoils our holy ground.
Our great leader, you resonate with our
Dreams. Your strength, your valor, is worthy of
The Gods. We shall follow you to the end
Of the Earth, and beyond. Heed us when we
Declare that the fat king Menelaus shall
Not perch atop his ugly roost for long.
Exit Paris, Aphrodite, and the Soldiers.
Our great king, in his conquest for vengeance
Brought his golden ships across many miles
Until his fleets crashed against the mighty,
Towering walls of Menelaus’ rival
City, courage blazing in his heart.
Sword drawn, held high above his head, roaring
A cry of battle, Paris and his men
Struck Sparta again and again ‘til
It groaned with the weight of many great blows.
As King Menelaus stood incompetent,
Charmed by the magic of the clever god
Aphrodite. Spilling the gold coins that
Once rested happily in Menelaus’
Treasury, into his bulging pocket
Loading his ships with the ancient heirlooms
Of a desecrated land, ripe with agony
Even this would have encouraged the wrath
Of every noble man beneath Apollo’s
Mighty chariot, shining gold radiance
But then Paris dared to inflict the rage
Of the blessed gods themselves; he stole from
Sparta Menelaus’ greatest fortune, the hand
Of the lovely Queen Helen. What happened
To the honorable intentions and
The justice between Paris’ noble words?
What has become of our admirable
Leader, his only desire liberty
And equality for all? Oh, how love
Despoils the hearts of men—corrupts them.
There is none strong enough to resist
The temptation of love. We, citizens
Of Troy, now fear for our lives, as Menelaus
Should once have feared for the safety of every
Thing he loved. Fool Paris, blinded by the
Witch Aphrodite, has incurred the ire
Of every man who once laid claim to the
Hand of gracious Helen. A tempest now
Sweeps across the land, and there is none who
Can shield Troy from it but the gods themselves.
Paris and Helen enter the Palace
My love, I am afraid I must leave you.
The armies of our enemies swarm like
Locusts across the sky, desperate to
Tear apart the bonds that hold us tight. Do
Not despair, for soon we shall be united
Again, this time to live together
Till the end of time, never to be apart.
Farewell, my love. May I soon feel the warm
Embrace of your arms on my chest again.
Our enemies draw nearer to Troy’s gates.
Each passing cycle of Apollo
Brings nearer the day in which our fate shall
Be decided. Our armies are strong, my
Lord, but I counsel you not to be rash.
Our king, we beg of you one small favor.
To return the elegant Queen of Troy
To the man whom which she was stolen from.
The fate of Troy rests on the tip of such
A simple decision. While our own men
May equal ten of our enemy,
We cannot withstand the might of ev’ry
Man, ev’ry city, ev’ry sword and shield.
Do not fear! My people, citizens of
Troy, the greatest land beneath the starry sky,
Rev’rent in our prayers and offerings
To the Gods, dutiful in our actions
Perfect in our bodies, brilliant in our
Minds. We are flooded, flooded by a tide
Of evil, of destruction, of terror.
Nothing we have done merits such a fate.
But defend the city we must. Come, my
People, prepare yourselves, for this is the
Hour in which legends and heroes are made!
All exit, minus Chorus.
Paris, Paris, most noble of all men;
Powerful in body, but a weakling
In mind. We weep for the deceit that has
Pitched Troy into the Underworld’s darkness,
From which he can never return alive
Tricked by the sweet promises of the shrewd Aphrodite,
Driven by cruel jealousy and blind in reason,
Took from a friend the most priceless of treasures,
The love of a princess no other can
Surpass. Arrogance possessed him, equal
To that of the Titans, enough to bring
A torrent of freezing water down on
Our city, once blazing bright with glory
And pride. Is there a man whose life ended
In such shame as Paris; whose strength, honor,
Brilliance, and life were crushed upon the rocks
Ahead, blinded by the fog of his own
Desire, never destined to reach the shore
To which he sailed? Alas, if only he
Had not been tempted by the deceit of
Others, our king would have been remembered
As a Legend, and Troy would instead have peace.
He is twice-born god of the wild fervor!
He is Child of Zeus, glory of Semele.
I praise thee, Dionysus, Lord of drink,
Lord of mystery, Lord of abundance
Patron of our esoteric rituals—
I am devoted to thee, Ward of Nymphs!
Dance forever with your women of Thebes,
Swirling in the wild raving cries of Maenads!
I commend thee, Overlord of our stage!
Show us all the ways of your revelry—
Strike all those who fail to see your blessing!
I worship thee, Lord of fertility
Giver of pleasure, giver of madness—
Protect us from the downfalls of human
Foolishness, the vanity that runs hand
in hand with your magnificent power!
Patron God of Ecstasy, I laud thee!
Duality runs in the gifts you give,
Duality runs rampant in your journey—
Foreign god of death and rebirth—
I pay my dues in your exaltations!
Dionysus, master of wine and play,
Your women are lovely, but none so as
Helen—she who launches a thousand ships!
Helen induces your power by her
Menelaus spits on Paris’ grave.
Persephone leads you to your fate. Life
spent lusting after others’, life wasted.
I knew this day would come—Helen, jewel
of Sparta—too beautiful for mortals
yet how fortunate was I to obtain
her hand. I loved her, and I thought her I—
but I was wrong. Cupid’s arrows flew untrue—
I to her, her to you. She abandoned
me, my country, our children, on a flight
of whimsy. Now I know that women shan’t
be trusted. Love to them is to choose he
who looks best, but plagues not his mind with thoughts.
Menelaus stomps on Paris’ body and exits. Helen crumples down to Paris’ marker.
Paris—you poor stupid fool. You followed
the call of Dionysus, and fell to
your ruin. One can’t belong to many,
though many may belong to one. In suit,
I can’t belong to you, as I belong
to Menelaus. I wish you the best
as you rot in Hades eternally.
Thus ends you, Paris, now accompanied
–not by women—but by ugly Furies—
Your punishment for chasing after me.
Love had blinded me, I left home bewitched.
Pictures you had painted with a lovely
mouth. But now your spell has broken with your
death. The wind scatters earth around your tomb,
And with it, my infatuation flees.
Helen steps over Paris’ marker to join Menelaus.
Are you finished—have you learned the errors
of your ways?
Cupid’s mischievous arrows
Have lost their poison. Never will I be drawn
away again from you, Menelaus.
Wife, I hope you hold yourself to your word.
Steal not the wife of another. Lust of
the body leads one only to ruin.
Heed not your heart’s weakness, but its reason.
The greatest gift is one obtain’d by the self.