quinara: Spke standing over the Chinese Slayer, with the caption 'Slayer' at his feet. (Spike Slayer)
[personal profile] quinara
Ugh, my week seems to have ended with the rather inevitable Fresher's Flu. It is very irritating - though slightly a relief since it possibly explains why I was feeling wretched for the sake of feeling wretched yesterday. It's far to early in term for the straight-up blues. And it has given me plenty of procrastination-via-flashfic time.

Anyway, I did some Greek tragedy prompts in the Bechdel Test Ficathon! It was fun.

First, for [personal profile] laeria's Antigone (Sophocles) - Antigone, Ismene - I don't care about their different thoughts / Different thoughts are good for me / Up in arms and chaste and whole / All God's children took their toll

Warning for suicide (I really need some cheerier characters).

Ανους μεν ερχηι, τοις φιλοις δ'ορθως φιλη. (You Go in Folly, but to Your Dear Ones Truly Dear. [thanks, Andrew Brown for the decent translation!])

What more could be expected of her, cursed daughter of incest? What else could she do? Certainly, Ismene thought as she ducked past guards, fugitively seeking out her sister's tomb, she couldn't be expected to obey her king's law, not in the end.

The cave was easy to find, just beyond the palace walls. Creon might believe he could lock her sister away without the miasma finding him, but he wasn't so arrogant as bring a tomb inside the city. She followed the stone stairs down, away from the upper world, imagining her sister taking the same path, head held high as if walking to her marriage bed.

"Oh, who is it now?" came her sister's strident voice as Ismene unlocked the door with her stolen key. "Is Creon not content with... Ismene?"

She'd been here for less than a day, but Ismene thought she could already see the darkness and the hunger seeping into Antigone's skin. She held her torch aloft, stepping fully into the room, tears swelling at the sight of Antigone's reddened eyes and loose hair. "Oh, Antigone..." she cried, rushing over to embrace her sister. They held each other for long, full seconds. "Come now," she said, trying to keep her voice strong, despite how frail her sister felt in her arms. She continued, drawing back, "Let us escape - to Athens, or elsewhere if Theseus will not take us. We must be gone from Thebes."

"We - no..." Antigone replied, shaking her head and wiping away fresh tears. "I am wedded to this death - I cannot..."

"You cannot?" Uncomprehending, Ismene stared at her sister, frozen.

She explained fervently. "They would know," she said, frowning as she watched ants crawl beneath them. "They would know that you had freed me, think you as worthless as I; I cannot - it is right they should think one of our family virtuous, that the possibility should remain that we sinned by choice rather than necessity." Then she looked up pleadingly, hope (which had to be for Ismene, since it could not be for herself) rounding her eyes to circles.

That look snapped Ismene from her disbelief. She shouted helplessly, "I don't care what they think, Antigone!" Her gaze darted around the tomb, if it could be called that, empty of every offering, belonging or memory. "I care that you will die, not long from now!" Did Antigone not realise this? "If my virtue is the price for your life, then I wish I had never been born to our noble house." Reaching a hand back, she loosened her own hair from its respectable knot and tossed her comb to the floor. "Respect is worth nothing," she insisted, meeting her sister's eyes again. "Come with me."

But Antigone backed away, shaking her head as a little of her old stubborn pride came over her posture, though her voice was still laced with misery. "No, Ismene, by the two goddesses, I won't," she declared. "A woman may not abandon her home. You were not at the ceremony, but the gods themselves observed it: this is the house of my marriage, my rightful place."

For a moment, Ismene stared, part of her mind now calculating how long the guards would take to realise their key was missing and reach the cave behind her. It would not be long. "Antigone..." she pleaded desperately.

Yet her sister did nothing but turn her back, trembling as she raised her eyes to the wall. "Leave me now, Ismene."

In her mind she could already hear the footthumps of the Theban guards. "No," she said simply, helplessly, then threw the torch to the sandy floor.

Then, secondly, for [livejournal.com profile] eleusis_walks's Greek mythology - Helene, Clytemnestra or Helene/Clytemnestra - many men have tried to split us up, / but no one can / lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister / and lord help the sister / who comes between me and my man.

I ended up going down a route with Aeschylus' Agamemnon, involving Cassandra. Warning here for graphic violence and character death (is that a bit farcical in Greek tragedy? Actual death on stage, though, which wouldn't usually happen...).

Ονειρων προσφερεις μορφωμασιν. (Appearing Like Images of Dreams.)

Cassandra enters the palace with her eyes closed shut. Unerringly her feet forge a path up the stairs and into the hall, though her mind is still full of images: blood that pours from Agamemnon and from her, the distant chambers of Hades which soon will be her home. It will be a blessing to be out of Apollo's burning reach.

Clytaemnestra's footsteps clack across stone. "You dare come into my house, you little harlot?"

"There seemed no point in waiting." The backs of her eyelids are burning red, but in this flickering echo of torchlight Cassandra sees every year that Clytaemnestra waited for her husband to come home, the thoughts of Helen with her new man, the hope that she and Helen were still alike enough to find pleasure in the same things. She sees pain and knife-sharp memory.

Not to mention anger. "Look at your better, girl!" The footsteps storm closer, no longer disguising the wet drag of Clytaemnestra's blood-soaked chiton or the madness breathing at the edge of her voice. Cassandra knows that madness well; it makes her laugh and laugh and laugh.

Laughing, indeed, she falls to the floor, ten long years of war from all three of their perspectives filling her mind beyond capacity; it's Cassandra's that gutters and dies.

"Helen, how could you leave Sparta? Will I ever see you again?"

"I am happy here, sister - on the days I do not weep."

"Do you even remember me? When we were children? I have no memory of you, just three too different daughters: one dead, one mad, one dull and plain and reverent."

"I'll have no children, but you're always in my heart."

"Come home, so I may laugh with you again; I am so dreadfully alone."

"Come home to Troy - the world is vast and splendid, you will see."

"... If they return without you, then I'll go. I have yet work to do."

"You are diligent, sister, all too..."

"GET UP!" Clytaemnestra is screaming. "GET UP!"

Cassandra's mind is still overcome by the great dark anger she can see. She does not get up, but is dragged, clothes wrenched around her neck as she is tossed against the wall. Wetness seeps onto her hair from somewhere near pain in her skull; she wonders if Apollo is watching, if he cares his favourite toy is being broken. "How could you?" she begs in someone's voice, certain only that it isn't hers.


She's thrown again; it feels like she's been bathing, with her skin soft from oil but her hair still wet, dripping on her shoulders. The pain is gone, but she's sure it shan't forget her.

Aegisthus' bed was never enough. Oh, yes, she sees that now. They are not so alike, in the end, these sisters. Helen would never let the blood touch her hands.


The last sight Cassandra sees is her most complete and perfect vision; it's accompanied by a crack like thunder. It is a woman's face drawn white, blood in her hair and on her cheeks, eyes dark and hollow.

And so she goes.


(no subject)

Date: 11/10/2010 12:20 (UTC)
jamalov29: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jamalov29
Oh the second one is so powerful! But I did enjoy both.:)

(no subject)

Date: 13/10/2010 00:53 (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
There are great swathes of these stories I just can't bring readily to mind, but I love your outtakes anyway.

"No," she said simply, helplessly, then threw the torch to the sandy floor.

That's a wonderful punch of a closing line.


quinara: Sheep on a hillside with a smiley face. (Default)

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