Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 602
Pyrrhus: Well, lady, well, it seems I must obey:
I must forget you, or must rather hate.
Too long I've shown you love's violence
To lapse into a dull indifference.
Consider well: from now on, my heart,
If it must not love, must take hate's part.
I'll spare nothing in my righteous anger;
The son pays for the scorn of the mother;
Greece demands him; I'll not undertake
To waste my glory saving an ingrate.
This lays out the major choice that Andromache must make at the beginning of the play. Greece wants to murder her son because they fear the havoc he'll wreak in the future if he decides he wants to get revenge for the death of his father. They have asked Pyrrhus to give the boy to them, and he has refused. However, he doesn't actually care if Astyanax dies. He only wants to use the boy's life to convince Andromache to marry him. It doesn't matter that he is engaged to another, and that Andromache doesn't want him; he wants her, and to him, that justifies any choices or threats he makes.
Hermione: Must one then credit every crazed lover?
Could you my deeper thought not discover?
Could you not see by my inner torment,
My heart spurred my speech in every moment?
Though I wished it, why must you then agree?
Did you have to make me say it endlessly?
Before the deed you came to question me,
To return again: or rather to avoid me?
Why not leave me then to my own vengeance!
After Oreste's men kill Pyrrhus, Hermione is distraught. Even though she worked against him during the play and was the one who convinced Oreste to kill him, she loved Pyrrhus. Without him alive, she feels despondent. She doesn't even want to be near Oreste, even though he did everything for her love. This is an example of how violence in the name of love is nothing but destructive. No one gets to end up happy when people are doing harmful things in the name of love. Instead, people are injured and conspire against each other, resulting in bloodshed, broken hearts, and madness.
Andromache: No, No, Cephisa, you must not follow.
To you I confide my dearest treasure:
If you'd live, live for this child of Hector.
Sole sanctuary of Trojan hopes now, think
How vital you'll prove to that line of kings.
Watch Pyrrhus closely; see that he stays true:
You may speak of me still, if you must do.
Make him value this marriage; in a breath,
Remind him I was bound to him by death.
That his resentment must now flee him,
That, leaving him my son, I esteem him.
Let our son know of our heroic past;
As soon as you can, lead him on that path.
Andromache ultimately decides that she can neither live with Pyrrhus nor see her son killed. She decides to give in, marry him, and then kill herself. She believes that Pyrrhus will be honorable enough to keep her son, his stepson by marriage, alive. Furthermore, she asks Cephisa to keep him safe and raise him to do what Greece fears he will do: grow up and seek revenge on behalf of the Trojans. Each of the characters loves someone they cannot have, and that is what ultimately leads to tragedy in their lives. Andromache especially doesn't have the chance to be with the person she loves because Hector is dead. She can't imagine a life without him; in the same way, Pyrrhus, Hermione, and Oreste all cannot imagine a life without the object of their affections.