The Trojan Women

Astyanax Character Analysis

The young son of Andromache and Hector. Although a toddler, and old enough to talk, he does not speak during the play. He is murdered by the Greeks for fear that he could grow up to become their enemy. His death and burial (with Hector’s shield as his coffin) marks the tragic climax of the play.

Astyanax Quotes in The Trojan Women

The The Trojan Women quotes below are all either spoken by Astyanax or refer to Astyanax. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Cost of War Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the University of Chicago Press edition of The Trojan Women published in 2013.
Line 568-797 Quotes

He must be hurled down from the battlements of Troy.
Let it happen this way. It will be wiser in the end.
Do not fight it. Take your grief nobly, as you were born;
give up the struggle where your strength is feebleness
with no force anywhere to help. Listen to me!
Your city is gone, your husband. You are in our power.
How can one woman hope to struggle against the arms
of Greece? Think, then. Give up the passionate contest.
Don’t…do any shameful thing, or any deed of hatred.
And please—I request you—hurl no curse at the Achaeans
for fear the army, save over some reckless word,
forbid the child his burial and the dirge of honor.
Be brave, be silent; out of such patience you’ll be sure
the child you leave behind will not lie unburied here,
and that to you the Achaeans will be less unkind.

Related Characters: Talthybius (speaker), Hecuba, Andromache, Astyanax
Page Number: 725
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

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Line 1060-1332 Quotes

Achaeans! All your strength is in your spears, not in
the mind. What were you afraid of, that it made you kill
this child so savagely? That Troy, which fell, might be
raised from the ground once more? Your strength meant nothing, then.
When Hector’s spear was fortunate, and numberless
strong hands were there to help him, we were still destroyed.
Now when the city is fallen and the Phrygians slain,
this baby terrified you? I despise the fear
which is pure terror in a mind unreasoning.

Related Characters: Hecuba (speaker), Andromache, Talthybius, Astyanax, Hector
Page Number: 1158
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

What would the poet say,
what words might he inscribe upon your monument?
“Here lies a little child the Argives killed, because
they were afraid of him.” That? The epitaph of Greek shame.
You will not win your father’s heritage, except
for this, which is your coffin now: the brazen shield.
O shield, that guarded the strong shape of Hector’s arm:
the bravest man of all, who wore you once, is dead.
How sweet the impression of his body on your sling,
and at the true circle of your rim the stain of sweat
where in the grind of his many combats Hector leaned
his chin against you, and the drops fell from his brow!
Take up your work now; bring from what is left some fair
coverings to wrap this poor dead child. The gods will not
allow us much. But let him have what we can give.
That mortal is a fool who, prospering, thinks his life
has any strong foundation; since our fortune’s course
of action is the reeling way a madman takes,
and no one person is ever happy all the time.

Related Characters: Hecuba (speaker), Astyanax, Hector
Related Symbols: Hector’s Shield
Page Number: 1188
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

The gods mean nothing except to make life hard for me,
and of all cities they chose Troy to hate. In vain
we sacrificed. And yet had not the very hand
of a god gripped and crushed this city deep in the ground,
we should have disappeared in darkness, and not given
a theme for music, and songs of men to come.
You may go now, and hide the dead in his poor tomb;
he has those flowers that are the right of the underworld.
I think it makes small difference to the dead, if they
are buried in the tokens of luxury. All that
is an empty glorification left for those who live.

Related Characters: Hecuba (speaker), Astyanax
Page Number: 1240
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Astyanax Character Timeline in The Trojan Women

The timeline below shows where the character Astyanax appears in The Trojan Women. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Line 568-797
Men and Women Theme Icon
Greek soldiers enter the stage, pulling Andromache and her baby Astyanax on a wagon, piled with other spoils of war. The Chorus announces her arrival and... (full context)
Duty, Obligation, and Integrity  Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...Andromache appreciates his sensitivity, but eventually he must speak: Odysseus has declared that Andromache’s son (Astyanax) must die. He refuses to let Hector’s child, a “hero’s son,” continue to live. (full context)
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Duty, Obligation, and Integrity  Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Astyanax will be thrown over the wall of Troy, Talthybius says, and he advises Andromache not... (full context)
Fate, Fortune, and the Gods Theme Icon
...bed,” which she can only reach “across the death of my own child.” Talthybius takes Astyanax from her, and Andromache is wheeled offstage in the wagon she rode in on. (full context)
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Talthybius speaks to Astyanax sweetly before passing him to a set of Greek guards, who carry the baby offstage.... (full context)
Line 1060-1332
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Duty, Obligation, and Integrity  Theme Icon
Talthybius enters from the city, accompanied by Greek soldiers. They carry Astyanax’s lifeless body on Hector’s shield. Talthybius tells Hecuba that the ships have been leaving. Neoptolemus... (full context)
Duty, Obligation, and Integrity  Theme Icon
...to hurry, but promises to give her the time she needs. He has already cleaned Astyanax’s wounds, and leaves to go dig a grave for him as Hecuba prepares the body.... (full context)
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Duty, Obligation, and Integrity  Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
...why the Greek army found it necessary to kill a child. Were they afraid that Astyanax might grow up to reconstruct Troy? She finds this fear baseless, cowardly, and unreasonable. She... (full context)
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Fate, Fortune, and the Gods Theme Icon
Duty, Obligation, and Integrity  Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Hecuba remembers when Astyanax was alive, and how he would jump on her bed and promise to cut his... (full context)
The Cost of War Theme Icon
The Chorus begins to sing in conversation with Hecuba, who continues to speak. Hecuba drapes Astyanax in a robe, which she notes that he should have worn at his wedding. She... (full context)
The Cost of War Theme Icon
Fate, Fortune, and the Gods Theme Icon
Duty, Obligation, and Integrity  Theme Icon
...destruction was the result of their random whims. She announces that she has fully prepared Astyanax for burial, and Greek soldiers collect him and carry him offstage. She wonders if it... (full context)