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Seamus Heaney’s version of Sophocles’s Philoctetes tells of the wounded hero marooned upon an island by the Greeks during the Siege of Troy. As the conflict comes to a climax, the Greeks begin to realise they cannot win the Trojan war without Philoctetes’s invincible bow, and turn back to seek his help.
The Cure at Troy dramatises the conflict between personal integrity and political expediency, and explores ways in which the victims of injustice can become as devoted to the contemplation of their wounds as the perpetrators are to the justification of their system. Responsive to the Greek playwright’s understanding of the relations between public and private morality, The Cure at Troy is a sharp, fast-paced retelling of the Greek original, shot through with Heaney’s own Irish speech and context.
History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
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