The scope of this research is to spark conversation among members of receiving communities concerning their attitudes toward displaced populations by using Euripides' Trojan Women as a facilitator. By many outside the Classics profession, the study of antiquity is often perceived as a discipline disconnected from current issues; however, remembering and examining the past can greatly shape the present. Ancient Greek theater is perhaps the genre that best lends itself to be scrutinized today for social purposes. In fact, it promoted introspection among the body of Athenian citizens by highlighting inequalities and imbalances in power structures between opposing parties. This study suggests that tragedies can still fulfill the same function. In particular, this essay focuses on Trojan Women, with the intent to unearth group dynamics between the Greek aggressors and the Trojan slaves, and to apply its lessons to recent humanitarian emergencies. Philological work shows that the Greeks in the play attempt to dehumanize their captives through practices of legal violence, objectification, and silencing. Nevertheless, the women find sanctuary from human annihilation through their ability to speak and to be heard. Dominant classes today employ similar techniques to disempower incoming societies and to deprive them of their political voice. Thanks to tragedy's ability to create a distancing effect through mythological narratives, public readings of Trojan Women might enable members of hosting countries to engage more readily in discussions concerning the theme of displacement that address their own biases. Therefore, this thesis argues that the analysis and reception of Trojan Women can elucidate the worldwide crisis in welcoming those seeking shelter and help groups asked to receive displaced populations make more compassionate and informed decisions.



College and Department

Humanities; Comparative Arts and Letters



Date Submitted


Document Type





Euripides, Hecuba, displacement, refugees, subjectivity, lament, legal violence, objectification, silence, speech, listening