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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Andromache is a tragedy set in the aftermath of the Trojan War. The characters are Greeks and Trojans whose lives are joined by love and separated by their varying goals and allegiances.


Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus and Helen of Troy, loves Pyrrhus; the pair are engaged. Oreste, the son of Agamemnon, loves Hermione. Hermione is jealous of Pyrrhus's infatuation with Andromache and she conspires with Oreste to have Andromache and Pyyrhus killed. However, she later laments her actions, realizing too late that she truly did love Pyyrhus.


Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles, is now King of Epirus. Although engaged to Hermione, he loves Andromache, the widow of Hector, to whom she has vowed perpetual fidelity. This inappropriate love, combined with Pyyrhus's arrogance, has derailed his reason and caused him to betray his warrior status. He is ultimately killed by Oreste's men on what would have been his wedding day.


Andromache was widowed when her husband, Hector, the hero of Troy, was killed. Pyrrhus, wild with desire, has enslaved her, but she steadfastly remains faithful to Hector’s memory. Pyrrhus alternates between menacing and indulgent behavior; he both threatens to kill Astyanax, her son, and lavishes her with luxuries to distract her from her prisoner status. Her central dilemma centers on her desire to remain faithful to her deceased husband and her need to save her son, whatever the cost.

Menelaus and Helen of Troy

Hermione’s parents were Menelaus and Helen of Troy. As a dutiful daughter, Hermione follows her father’s wishes that she become engaged to Pyrrhus, who is tempted to abandon her for Andromache. Hermione’s pride leads her to reject Andromache’s plea for her help in saving Astyanax. In her anger and jealousy toward Pyrrhus, she toys with Oreste’s affections. Spurned by Pyrrhus, she aids Oreste in planning his murder. Confronting the reality of her fiancé’s death and her role in it, brought home by seeing his body, propels her to suicide.


Oreste, the son of Agamemnon, is melancholic and immature, likely cursed by the gods. His duty in Epirus is to take Astyanax’s life, but he is distracted by his love for Hermione. His lack of self-control, culminating in Pyrrhus’s murder, drives him mad.

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