Trachyonians Almost all Greek heroes were kings in different cities and towns, except Hercules. His future divinity, he practiced forced labor in the service of an insignificant king from South Greece. For him, he performed twelve feats, one more difficult. The last was the descent to Hades, the underworld, behind a terrible three-headed dog guarding the realm of the dead. There, in Hades, he met the shadow of the hero Meleager, also a fighter against monsters, the most powerful of the older heroes. Meleager said to him: “There, on earth, I have a sister named Deyanira, take her as a wife, she is worthy of you.”
“Trachyonians” means “girls from the city of Trakhin”. Trachin (“rocky”) is a small town in the remote mountain outskirts of Greece, under the hill of This, not far from the glorious gorge of Thermopylae. He is famous only for the fact that the greatest of the Greek heroes Hercules, the son of Zeus, lived in his last years. On Mount Etta, he took a voluntary death at the stake, ascended to heaven and became a god. The involuntary culprit of this martyr’s death was his wife, Dejanira, faithful and loving. She is the heroine of this tragedy, and the chorus of Trakhin girls is her interlocutors.
When Hercules finished his servitude, he went to the edge of Greece to get married to Deianira. He arrived on time: there flowed the river Aheloy, the largest in Greece, and her god demanded that
The path lay still across one river, and the carrier on that river was a wild centaur Ness, a half-man-half-horse. Dejanira liked him, and he wanted to kidnap her. But Hercules had a bow and arrows poisoned with the black blood of the multi-headed Hydra snake, which he once defeated and chopped. The arrow of Hercules overtook the centaur, and he realized that his death had come. Then, to take revenge on Hercules, he said to Deianira: “I loved you, and I want to do good to you. Take the blood from my wound and keep it from the light and people.” If your husband loves another, then smear his clothes with this blood, and his love will return to you. ” Deyanira did so, not knowing that Nesova’s blood was poisoned by the arrow of Hercules.
Time passed, and she had to remember about this blood. Hercules was staying with a friend of the Tsar in the city of Echalia (two days’ journey from Trakhin), and he was fond of the royal daughter of Iola. He demanded of the king of her in concubines. The Tsar refused, and the Tsar’s son mockingly added: “It is not to her face that she should be the one who served twelve years, like a servant slave.” Hercules got angry and pushed the king’s son off the wall – the only time in his life he killed an enemy not by force but by deception. The gods punished him for this – once again put in slavery for a year to the slutty overseas Queen Omphale. Dejanira knew nothing about this. She lived in Trachina alone with her young son Gill and patiently waited for her husband’s return.
Here begins the drama of Sophocles.
On the stage of Dejanira, she is full of anxiety. Leaving, Hercules told her to wait for him a year and two months. He had a prophecy: if you die, then from the dead; and if you do not die – then go back and finally find rest after work. But a year and two months have passed, but he’s not there. Did the prophecy come true, and he died from some dead, and will not return to live his days alone beside her? The Chorus of Trachyonians encourages her: no, although in all life there are joys and misfortunes, but Father Zeus will not leave Hercules! Then Dejanira calls his son Gill and asks him to go in search of his father. He is ready: it has already reached the rumor that Hercules spent a year in slavery at Omphala, and then went on a campaign to Ehaliyah – to take revenge on the offending tsar. And Gill goes looking for him under Echalia.
Hardly Gill leaves, as indeed the rumor is confirmed: from Hercules come the messengers – to say about the victory and about his close return. There are two of them, and they are not faceless, as is usual in tragedies: everyone has his own character. The elder of them leads a group of silent captives with him: yes, Hercules spent his year at Omphala, and then went to Ehaliyah, took the city, captured the captives and sent them to slaves Dejanira, and he himself should offer thanksgiving sacrifices to the gods and immediately follow. Dejanir feels sorry for the captives: they were just noble and rich, and now they are slaves. Dejanira talks to one of them, the most beautiful, but she is silent. Dejanira sends them to the house – and then the second messenger approaches her. “The elder told you not the whole truth.” Not out of revenge, Hercules took Ehalia, but out of love for the princess Iole: you talked with her now, but she was silent. ” Reluctantly, the senior messenger acknowledges: this is so. “Yes,” Dejanira says, “love is God, a person is powerless before it.” Wait a little: I will give you a gift for Hercules. “
The choir sings a song for the glory of all-powerful love. And then Deyanira tells the Trachyonians about her gift to Hercules: it’s the cloak that she wiped with the very blood of Ness to regain Hercules love, because it hurt her to share Hercules with her rival. “Is it reliable?” asks the choir. “I’m sure, but I have not tried it.” – “There is little confidence, experience is needed”. – “Will now be”. And she hands the closed box to the messenger with a cloak: let Hercules put it on when he makes sacrifices of thanks to the gods.
The choir sings a joyful song to the glory of the returning Hercules. But Dejanira is in awe. She rubbed her cloak with sheep’s wool, and then threw that bloody clump to the ground, – and suddenly, she says, he boiled in the sun with a dark foam and spread over the ground with a red-brown stain. Is it not a threat? Did the centaur deceive her? did not poison it instead of a love spell? Indeed, the chorus does not have time to calm her down, as Gill stepped in quickly: “You killed Hercules, you killed my father!” And he says: Hercules put on a raincoat, Hercules slaughtered the sacrificial bulls, Hercules lit a fire for the burnt offering, – but when the bonfire warmed to the cloak, he seemed to stick to his body, gnawed pain to the bones like fire or snake venom, and Hercules fell in cried, cursing and cloaking, and the one who sent it. Now he is carried on a stretcher in Trakhin, but will they deliver it alive? Dejanira silently listens to this story, turns and disappears into the house. The choir in horror sings of the troubles that have come. The messenger runs out – the old nurse Dejanira: Dejanira killed herself. In tears she went around the house, said good-bye to the altars of the gods, kissed the doors and thresholds, sat down on the marriage bed and thrust the sword into her left breast. Gill in despair – did not have time to stop her. The chorus in double horror: the death of Deyanirs in the house, the death of Hercules at the gate, which is scarier?
The end is coming. They bring Hercules, he rushes on a stretcher with frantic screams: the conqueror of monsters, the most powerful of mortals, he perishes from a woman and calls to his son: “Take revenge!” Between the groans Gill explains to him: Dejaniry is no more, her guilt is involuntary, this was once deceived by the evil centaur. Now it is clear to Hercules: the prophecies have come true, it is he who perishes from the dead, and the rest that awaits him is death. He orders his son: “These are the last two of my covenants: the first – take me to this mountain and put it on the funeral pyre, the second – the Iola, which I did not have time to take for myself, take you to her herd mother of my descendants.” Gill in horror: to burn his father alive, to marry the one who is the cause of the death of both Hercules and Deyanira? But he can not resist Hercules. Hercules is carried away; no one yet knows, that from this fire he will ascend to heaven and become a god. Gill accompanies him with the words:
“No one can reach the future to see, But alas, the present is sorrowful to us. And shameful to the gods, And it’s harder for the one who fell a fatal sacrifice.”
And the chorus echoes: “Now we’ll go home and go home: We saw a terrible death, And a lot of torment, unprecedented torment – But everything was Zeusov’s will.”