The Trojan War Will Not Take Place  

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The Trojan war will not take place (original title: La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu, English title Tiger at the Gates) is a play by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux, written in 1935. The play has two acts and follows the convention of the classical unities.

Within the framework of the Iliadic myth of the Trojan War, Giraudoux criticizes diplomacy and the behaviour of the national leaders and intellectuals who brought about the First World War and the lead-up to World War II.

La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu (earlier titles included Préface des Préfaces and Préface à l'Iliade), takes place the day before the beginning of the Trojan War inside the gates of the city of Troy. It follows the struggle of the disillusioned Trojan military commander, Hector (supported by the women of Troy), to avoid war with the Greeks. Hector's wife Andromache is pregnant, contributing to his desire for peace. Along with his worldly-wise mother Hecuba, Hector leads the anti-war argument and tries to persuade his brother Paris to return Paris's beautiful but empty-headed captive Helen to Greece. Giraudoux presents Helen as not only an object of desire, but the epitome of destiny itself. She claims that she can see the future by seeing what is coloured in her mind, and she sees war. For Hector, Helen means only war and destruction. But for the other Trojan men, led by the poet Demokos, she epitomises an opportunity for glory: they are eager to have others fight a war in her name. The peace agreement Hector negotiates with the visiting Greek commander, Ulysses, is no match for Demokos's deliberate lies, and at the end of the play, the seer Cassandra's cynical prediction that war cannot be avoided has been proven right.

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