'La Guerre deTroie n'aura pas lieu and the limitations of man'

Gerald Macklin

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    Abstract

    This paper looks at Jean Giraudoux's play La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu and examines the treatment of the theme of war in the play together with what it reveals about the playwright's humanism. The play marks a stage in Giraudoux's decline into pessimism in terms of the human condition and throughout the pendulum swings between war and peace, a dark outcome and an uplifting finale. The play is ambiguous in many ways and this is seen through the full range of human vice in some characters (Demokos, Oiax) and the humanitarian impulses of Hector. Giraudoux exposes warmongering, how lies always prevail through propaganda in the run-up to conflict and the role of cynicism in human affairs. On the other hand, we see Hector strive for peace and Andromaque, albeit unsuccessfully, tries to prevail upon others to avoid war. She represents compassion, the maternal instinct, the softness to offset the dehuamanization apparent in others. Giraudoux also explores the issue of free will and determinism in La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu and one wonders if Hector's peace-making efforts flounder on the stumbling-block of destiny. Man is positioned in the play between nobility and degradation and, ultimately, his tragedy seems to come not from some external force but from his own inner limitations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHUMANITAS: STUDIES IN FRENCH LITERATURE PRESENTED TO HENRI GODIN
    EditorsLeslie Davis, John H Gillespie, Robert McBride
    Place of PublicationColeraine, Noethern Ireland
    PublisherUlster University
    Pages145-157
    ISBN (Print)0 901229 48 2
    Publication statusPublished - 1984

    Bibliographical note

    Reference text: J.Giraudoux La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu, Bordas, Paris, 1935

    R.Lewis La Guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu, London, 1971

    V.Hugo Préface de Cromwell, Bordas, Paris, 1971

    J.Giraudoux, La Folle de Chaillot, Bordas, Paris, 1942

    J.Giraudoux Electre, Bordas, Paris, 1937

    J.Giraudoux Amphitryon 38, London, 1969

    C.Mauron Le Théâtre de Giraudoux, Paris, 1971

    J.Giraudoux Siegfried, London, 1967

    R.M.Albérès Esthétique et morale chez Jean Giraudoux, Paris, 1970

    Keywords

    • humanism
    • war
    • fate
    • free will

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