Analysis Of Cassandra By Christa Wolf

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In Cassandra by Christa Wolf, the author tells the story of the Trojan War through the perspective of the prophetess, Cassandra. Cassandra foresees Troy’s fall but is doomed to not be heard because of her rejection of Apollo’s sexual advances. It is through Cassandra’s story that Wolf explores the dominant woman and the subjugated man. King Priam the main figure in the Trojan War becomes emasculated as Cassandra and Hecuba, his wife, demonstrate a more powerful role than the traditional woman throughout the novel. The definition of emasculation is to make an individual weaker or less effective or to deprive a man of his male identity i.e. castration. King Priam is deprived of his male identity in Cassandra, as both Hecuba and Cassandra develop …show more content…
In the beginning of the novel, Cassandra goes to describe King Priam’s position within Troy as being the result of Hecuba. Cassandra at one point calls him, “…less than the ideal king, but he was the husband of the ideal queen; that gave him special privileges” (Wolf 13). Cassandra goes on to describe King Priam as one to indulge in fantasies rather than look into the contingencies of ruling Troy (Wolf 13). In comparison to King Priam, Hecuba’s cool calm collectiveness is a dominating factor to the subjugated soft and emotional King Priam. Hecuba’s role within the council during the Trojan War is so essential that when Hecuba is barred from the meetings, Cassandra notes it as a true moment of the Trojan state collapsing. When barred from state meetings, Hecuba goes on to confer with Anchises and to organize resistance behind King Priam’s back. Once more Hecuba emasculates King Priam by going to Anchises, as she shows confidence in another man other than King Priam. Even after Hecuba gives birth to Paris, she continues to emasculate Priam. Cassandra when looking to find details of Paris’s birth discovers, “Hecuba, my mother, had had frightening dreams, had bypassed the official oracle to consult the former concubine of her husband…”(Wolf 49). Hecuba goes behind Priam to make certain the safety of Paris and in doing so ultimately undermines Priam’s power and ensures his eventual …show more content…
Cassandra deeply desires a position of authority and dignity, which becoming priestess of Apollo would grant. Cassandra at one point states, “how was a woman to rule otherwise?” (Wolf 32). She uses the fact that she is King Priam’s favorite to become consecrated as the priestess over her sister. She does this by telling Hecuba of a dream she had with Apollo Lykeios and how she refused to sleep with him, Hecuba uses the dream as a reason for choosing Cassandra over Polyxena as the priestess. Over the course of the war, King Priam continues to try to flaunt his masculinity by creating new titles such as “our mighty king” and “our almighty king” (Wolf 65). Sadly, King Priam’s flaunting of titles shows his fear over the prophecy; therefore, he tries to create a stronghold over his sovereignty. Cassandra then undermines his position at the council twice. Cassandra undermines him once when she argues with him over Helen and not telling the Greeks the truth of her existence in Troy and second when she argues with him over using her sister, Polyxena as bait for Achilles. The first time she undermines him, King Priam simply has her removed from the meeting viewing her outcry as ‘self-renunciation’ (Wolf 69). The second time, Cassandra refuses to comply with the secrecy of using Polyxena as bait, in doing so King Priam is forced to jail her in

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