*Magnify*
SPONSORED LINKS
Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1560102
Printer Friendly Page Tell A Friend
No ratings.
Rated: E · Script/Play · Drama · #1560102
Menelaus arrives and the hostility between Andromache and Hermoine explodes.
Act 3 Scene 2. The Hostility of the Two Wives


The scene opens the next morning in the courtyard. It's a bustle of activity as the pack animals are readied and the servants make final preparations for the journey. Enter Peleus and Andromacha with baby.

PELEUS
Wait here. I want to inspect the caravan.

ANDROMACHA
(With infant in arms goes center stage and gives monologue.)
So much has happened. I wasn't surprised to find myself pregnant. I delivered three months ago, a son, Molossus. He's strong and healthy and looks like his father. When we came ashore I went to the house of Peleus. He's Pyrrhus' grandfather, a wonderful man, who was in sore need of my services. He lived alone and his house was a hermitage. Since then, I've been busy putting everything back in order. This was good because it took my mind off other things and gave me time to reflect. I'll always be grateful to Pyrrhus for his generosity with the women. It gave them a chance for a decent life.

He said he loved me,
but what do men know of love?
For men, it's a moment, for women a lifetime,
for men it's a door, for women a window,
for men it's an end, for women a means,

(shows child to audience)

and what men soon forget... a woman needs no reminder.

Since that night he hasn't taken me to his bed,
but I often see him and he still has that wistful look.
And I must admit it makes me feel good to see him holding Molossus,
proudly in his arms, like a father should...
but when he hands him back I see a look of sadness.
He averts his eyes when he sees me looking back at him.
Yes, I see the embers of some sentiment, even love, such as he can;
And while I'm not without empathy, I can never forgive
his role in my son's death.

Wait, here comes Briseis with her boy.

BRISEIS
I've been meaning to get by...

ANDROMACHA
Don't apologize, I know what it's like to start a new life.

BRISEIS
May I see the baby?

ANDROMACHA
(Gives her Molossus and kneels down to "Pergamus.")
They grow up so quickly and the sight of him makes my heart jump!

BRISEIS
What's his name?

ANDROMACHA
Molossus.

BRISEIS
What a big boy and already so heavy. There's no mistaking him for his father. Have you come to see us off?

ANDROMACHA
(Strokes boy's hair.)
I'm glad we came but it wasn't for that reason.

BRISEIS
(Bounces Molossus in arms.)
Then what brings you?

ANDROMACHA
(Strokes boy's face.)
I've been summoned to see Menelaus.

BRISEIS
(Shocked!)
Menelaus is here?

ANDROMACHA
(Puts both hands on shoulders.)
Since last night.

BRISEIS
Why's he come?

ANDROMACHA
(Looks deeply into eyes.)
I wish I knew.

BRISEIS
(Distracted by the thought of Menelaus, she is slow to see Andromacha reaching for the gold chain around boys neck.)
Oh my god!

ANDROMACHA
(Takes hold the chain and pauses.)
I'm the one who should be nervous... and I am. What could he want with us?

BRISEIS
(Nervously)
Well, we have to go now!
(Offers Molossus back to Andromacha)

ANDROMACHA
There's no hurry, the appointment is still an hour off.
(Begins pulling out chain.)
And what's this, a good luck charm. Take it from me they don't work.
(Pulls chain from beneath tunic revealing gem, recoils in shock!)
What is this doing on Pergamus? Did Pyrrhus give it to him?
(Pushes Pergamus away in disgust)
How could he do such a thing? What a miserable bastard he is!
(Grabs Molossus from Brisies and rushes sobbing into the portico, passing Pyrrhus on his way into the courtyard and giving him a stricken look. Philistes comes up followed by Pyrrhus.)

PHILISTES
What's that all about?
(Pyrrhus arrives at same time.)

BRISEIS
She saw the emerald and thinks you took it and gave it to Pergamus.

PYRRHUS
(Turns and runs back to portico, finds Andromacha weeping in corner.)
I know exactly what you're thinking, but for once, can't you put your hate aside and think better of me.

ANDROMACHA
(Glares)
Better of you?

PYRRHUS
Your son deserves more, than this bitter stone you raise on his memory.

ANDROMACHA
When did you take it from him? Just before you threw him off the wall?

PYRRHUS
When will darkness surrender your heart?

ANDROMACHA
Proud of a good night's work, weren't you. Decided to keep a little momento!

PYRRHUS
It isn't what it seems.

ANDROMACHA
There is much about you that isn't. Why in god's name did you give it to Pergamus? This makes no sense at all!

PYRRHUS
It makes perfect sense to me and it would to you too, if the smallest speck of grace could ever penetrate that stone head of yours. Since that's unlikely, I guess I'll have to explain it, slowly, when I get back.

ANDROMACHA
It'll take more explaining than you'll ever manage.

PYRRHUS
(Turns on heel and walks away from her... back into the courtyard.)
Is everything ready for the journey?

PHILISTES
Exactly as we planned.

PYRRHUS
And the boy?

BRISEIS
(Steps up)
We're here.

PYRRHUS
The situation's worse than expected. Thank goodness our preparations are complete. Menelaus arrived last night. He thinks Andromacha was pregnant when we left Troy and he's checking into it. He's asked to see Molossus, to judge his age. Once he figures out that thread leads nowhere, he will probably take a hard look backward. He's close to the truth and if it dawns on him, he will be hot on your trail.

BRISEIS
It's you that we're worried about and I was so careless. Here, you better take the pendant. If it has any luck left you're going to need it.


PYRRHUS
Don't worry. I'll be fine. Now take heart. When we get to the crossroads we'll split up. You'll take the caravan north to Macedonia. I'll linger here awhile to see what happens. Any pursuit will be expecting us to go south. Make sure you move quickly and don't stop until you're well beyond Mount Olympus. Then you should be safe.

BRISEIS
When will we see you again?

PYRRHUS
Some day I'll come and visit. Ohhh, and one last thing for you Philistes. Last night Menelaus gave me this for a wedding present.
(Throws purse)
Then he told me your mother's name?

PHILISTES
Her name?

PYRRHUS
She was Seneca, Menelaus' sister. You are nephew to the great King himself.

PHILISTES
Is she dead?

PYRRHUS
I'm sorry.

BRISEIS
When will you tell Andromacha?

PYRRHUS
Soon, I can think about that later.

BRISEIS
I wish I could see her face when you do.

PYRRHUS
Her heart's not as cold as she pretends and I imagine her mind is already at work. I wonder who will be the first to figure it out? Last night I'd have bet on Menelaus but now I'm not so sure. It's time for farewells. On the road there's no stopping.

BRISEIS
My dearest, I wish you every happiness. You'll never be far from my love.
(Embraces)

PHILISTES
I'll always miss you Pyrrhus.

PYRRHUS
Come, it's time to go.
(Exit all, Scene shifts to great room where Menelaus comes down stairs and finds Hermione.)

MENELAUS
Well, you seem in better spirits this morning.

HERMIONE
Thank you for talking to Pyrrhus. He's a changed man. I've renewed hope for our marriage.

MENELAUS
Now that's good news. Tell me everything that's happened since we saw you last, and don't spare the details, because your mother will want to know everything.
(Scene shifts to Portico where Peleus has returned to Andromacha and the baby.)

PELEUS
Are you troubled, Andromacha?

ANDROMACHA
I don't know what I'm feeling right now. There's so much on my mind. What could Menelaus want with us? I hear rumors that I'm blamed because Heromine's not with child. That I'm a witch making spells to keep her barren. To think that in these times there's still people who believe in such nonsense. The reminder that I bore Pyrrhus a son, can't make her too happy. I fear a plot's being hatched; That I'll be murdered and my son too.

PELEUS
Now don't get yourself into a sweat over nothing. Menelaus and I go back a long way. He campaigned with me and I taught him the difference between tactics, operations and strategy. I arranged for him the marriage between his daughter and my grandson. Once I even helped him out of a most embarrassing situation. Sometime let me tell you the tale of Ramos the Cook. So relax! You have nothing to worry about with me around. After wrestling with centaurs, I have no fear of men and Menelaus is no exception.
(Enter Menelaus)

MENELAUS
Peleus, Wrestler of the Gods, and my dearest friend. How good it is to see you again. It's been a long time since we campaigned together, to subdue this wild country.

PELEUS
Greetings old friend. I remember those times well. If there had been more like you it would have been over much sooner. This is Andromacha, slave-wife of Pyrrhus and their son, Molossus.

MENELAUS
I've met the slave woman...

PELEUS
So, what brings you to Thessaly?

MENELAUS
Nothing urgent. I'm here to visit my daughter.

PELEUS
Ahhh, and you wanted Andromacha to offer some entertainment? No doubt you've heard of her skill with the harp. She plays beautifully. Sadly we didn't bring an instrument, but I'm sure we can find one somewhere about.

MENELAUS
I heard her "harping" the night we took Troy and I wasn't amused. The only reason I asked for her was to carry your grandson; for I hear he's an infant and still needs his mother.

PELEHUS
Why do you want to see the boy?

MENELAUS
That matter I'd prefer discussing alone, but don't be alarmed. If what I'm told is true, there's nothing to be concerned about.
(Turns to Andromacha.)
Give the boy to his grandfather and leave us in private.
(Andromacha hesitates)

PELEUS
Do as he asks. The boy will come to no harm.
(Andromacha leaves room.)

MENELAUS
(Looks and is satisfied.)
A fine looking lad Peleus, and a newborn at that.
(Loud, intended for Andromacha.)
Glad to see he takes after his father.
(Scene shifts to Great Room where Andromacha and Hermione are now located.)

ANDROMACHA
Now what was that all about? Then, there's nothing about this day that makes sense to me and seeing the emerald makes the least sense of all. It awakened memories I dare not think about. For as I saw it sparkle, there came the recollection of that night in the cabin, when he took that piece of jewelry from the coffer. Could it have been the pendant? I'm inclined to think so. It had to be somewhere on the ship. But why in heaven's name, as he pleaded for my hand, would he offer it as a toke of our engagement. That would have been the sheerest folly, to present me such a grim reminder. But I think that's what he intended and it makes absolutely no sense at all.

HERMIONE
Last night was the happiest of my life, not just the love making, which was better than anything I ever expected, but because when it ended, we sat on the bed and talked a long time. Pyrrhus and I have more in common than I imagined. Gods! If it wasn't for her, think of the life we could have. Orestes was right, given a fair chance, I could make this marriage work. She's older than I expected, her complexion darker, but she's beautiful and it's easy to see why he finds her attractive. If I were a man, it wouldn't be an easy thing to choose. From my mother I inherited beauty, not so unpleasant, but I'd hate to stake it on a contest with her.

ANDROMACHA
So this is Hermione, his Spartan bride. She's younger than I thought. Very athletically built and much more attractive that I imagined. I'm surprised that he bothers with me when he has her around. Maybe she's smarter than she looks, after all, Menelaus is her father. Maybe she wised up to Pyrrhus. Now that would be no surprise. Or maybe there's another man. Spartan women are like that you know. The word I hear is that Orestes came by to see her last night. She better be careful. His family has a terrible reputation.

HERMIONE
Orestes says that I should kill her, like ordering an omelet. Someday that thinking will land him in serious trouble. I wasn't that broken hearted when our engagement ended. He has a dark side, and I liked him better as a friend. Imagine killing some stranger, not to mention the boy. It's not like she's a home breaker. She doesn't even love Pyrrhus and who can blame her? Try convincing a mother, that you were just following orders. Is it a slave's fault when the master won't let her be. If I should murder anyone, it's that husband of mine, which I am suddenly loath to do. If last night was any indication, then the future is looking up.

ANDROMACHA
She seems nice enough, and I don't really know her. It's not like there is any real quarrel between us. We might even become allies, for her gain is my salvation. If she wiggled her hips a little more and I shook my fist, we might get Pyrrhus turned in the right direction.
(They meet)

HERMIONE
You must be Andromacha, my husbands slave-wife.

ANDROMACHA
I am. And you must be Hermoine, his real wife.

HERMIONE
Well put.

ANDROMACHA
It wasn't my idea to come here today.

HERMIONE
You were summoned by my father.

ANDROMACHA
For what purpose?

HERMOINE
He wished to see the age of your son.

ANDROMACHA
Why?

HERMIONE
To make sure you weren't pregnant, when you left Troy.

ANDROMACHA
And if I had been?

HERMIONE
It would not have boded well for the boy.

ANDROMACHA
You mean he would have had him killed, like Astynax?

HERMIONE
I'm not looking for a confrontation.

ANDROMACHA
I'm only asking the truth.

HERMIONE
You found it.

ANDROMACHA
What a mean and vile man your father is!

HERMIONE
Take care, how you speak of him.

ANDROMACHA
What? Or he'll kill me too?

HERMIONE
Or I'll settle the matter myself.

ANDROMACHA
Better find someone else for your dirty work.

HERMIONE
I don't need my father's help to put you in your place.

ANDROMACHA
Don't be so sure. I hear Spartan women are trained on their backs, not on their feet.

HERMOINE
Try my patience further and you'll find out. No wonder Pyrrhus is always so grim. That tongue of yours has venom.

ANDROMACHA
If it had venom, he'd be long ago dead.

HERMIONE
There must be something about you that attracts him.

ANDROMACHA
His lust is enough, since you have no leash for it.

HERMIONE
And you give him no encouragement?

ANDROMACHA
None!

HERMIONE
I suppose you conceived miraculously on the voyage.

ANDROMACHA
I was forced.

HERMIONE
(Holds up ship's log)
That's not what this says.

ANDROMACHA
I submitted to save my sisters.

HERMIONE
You were paid for your services.

ANDROMACHA
Then you must know the price.

HERMIONE
Do I care how a whore spends her wages?
(Andromacha, very angry, struggling to control self.)

ANDROMACHA
I do, and my shame won't let me forget it. But only once and never again.

HERMIONE
(Laughs)
You say that with such a straight face, when it's the scent of your desire that draws him like perfume.

ANDROMACHA
Its not my scent that draws him, it's your arrogance and pride that drives him away.

HERMIONE
You're starting to make me angry.

ANDROMACHA
The truth often has that effect.

HERMIONE
The truth's that you're a thief, who's robbed my marriage and stole my husband's love.

ANDROMACHA
How mistaken you are. Steal it? I hate it worse than rats! If I were a thief and it crawled into my bag, I'd throw it out the window with a shiver! No, instead I'd toss it on your bed and you could have it to your heart's content.

HERMIONE
You're a vicious woman, with no room inside for anything, but terrible hate. A witch making incantations that chill my womb and make me sterile.

ANDROMACHA
That requires no magic. Your gall chokes his seed to death!

HERMIONE
My patience is running out.

ANDROMACHA
If you cooled your heat for Orestes, you might warm up to being a wife.

HERMIONE
You'd be wise to shut your mouth. You're my greatest impediment.

ANDROMACHA
It's you who hinder yourself.

HERMIONE
A woman can only take so much.

ANDROMACHA
If you were a shadow of that your husband wouldn't be forever sniffing about my skirts.

HERMIONE
This is my last warning

ANDROMACHA
Not since your parents have two been so well suited.

HERMIONE
Leave them out of this.

ANDROMACHA
Your father killed my baby. Your words confirm it. How was I so blind, blaming the executioner when I should have blamed the judge? A thousand ravaged souls cry out from the grave, screaming in my ears and at last I see the truth. What began with Helen, your slut mother, ended in your father's evil ambition.
(Action freezes as scene shifts to other side.)

MENELAUS
What's all that commotion?

PELEUS
A terrible argument.

MENELAUS
Oh my god, they're together.

PELEUS
Two wives, one husband.

MENELAUS
Not for long.

PELEUS
Locked in a mortal combat of words.
(Everyone gathered for interviews rushes to door)

MENELAUS
Its not the words that make me tremble.

PELEHUS
What then?

MENELAUS
(Raises finger in anticipation)
This.

HERMIONE
(Screams, LACEDEMON!)

(Action resumes, With her war cry Hermione turns smoothly and draws her father's sword from the baggage laying on the couch. Taking it in both hands she skips with a fluid quickness towards Andromache, backing her towards a table. Then she raises the blade and brings it down. Andromacha shifts her weight to the side, and only by the narrowest of margins, avoids its downward arc, as it slams into the top. With both hands on the hilt, Hermione delivers a kick that sends Andromache to the floor. Prying it loose she comes on her this time more deliberately to a "Hut, Hut, Hut cadence, countering Andromacha's attempt to escape crawling backward, working her systematically back towards pillar.)

ANDROMACHA
Please! Don't kill me.

HERMIONE
Ahhhhhh!
(As she brings the blade forward, an arm stretches out from behind the pillar locking around her wrist. Her arm strains, as the motion is arrested and she tries to overcome it. Menelaus comes into view, taking her other wrist and forcing her to her knees.

MENELAUS
Are you crazy? Have you lost your senses?
(Hermione comes out of trance.)
Just look at what you've done!

HERMIONE
(Returns to senses.)
Why did you bring her here?

MENELAUS
I had to see the baby.

HERMIONE
Your obsession awoke the unthinkable.
(Flees from the room.)



© Copyright 2009 percy goodfellow (trebor at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Log in to Leave Feedback
Username:
Password:
Not a Member?
Signup right now, for free!
All accounts include:
*Bullet* FREE Email @Writing.Com!
*Bullet* FREE Portfolio Services!
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1560102