Delahoyde & Hughes


There is some debate over whether the play Rhesus was written by Euripides. In any case, it dramatizes events surrounding the night marauding narrated in Book X of Homer's Iliad. Here, Hector is awakened with advice that the Trojans see what the Greeks are up to. Aeneas recommends that they send a spy and Dolon volunteers to go, asking for Achilles horses as his reward, horses Hector also has his eye on. Dolon disguises himself as a wolf and promises to bring back the head of Odysseus, "Or maybe Diomedes" (16).

A testy Hector hears from a shepherd about Rhesus arriving to join the Trojans. Hector thinks he's been a slacker, but Rhesus says he was coming to help (ten years ago) but got involved with his own war with the Scythians. Hector rants about Odysseus, who has already here stolen the Palladium. Hector and Rhesus grumble about underhanded tricks.

Odysseus and Diomedes have gotten info from Dolon and killed him, and they prepare now to do their butchery. Athena helps them and warns them when to make their escape, which they do in the confusion, which Odysseus exacerbates. Accusations fly that Hector and the Trojans are responsible for marauding this faction. A Muse, the mother of Rhesus, appears with the body of her slain son, and sorts out the dismal truth. The Trojans vaguely hope for victory nevertheless.

Works Cited

Euripides. Rhesus. Trans. Richmond Lattimore. Euripides IV. Ed. David Grene and Richmond Lattimore. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958. 1-49.

Powell, Barry. Classical Myth. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2001.


Orpheus: Greek Plays