On Priam

I thought I should briefly say something about Polyxena’s relationship with her father, Priam, King of Troy, a major character in my novel.  She very much loves him and is closer to him than her mother and could even be said to have an Electra complex.  A lot of this is due to her own interests paralleling those of Priam (the politics and conduct of the war, riding horses, etc.), regarding him as: …my loving father, King Priam, whom I adored more than anyone.  She describes him as: Tall and lean, with his whitened hair and beard, he appeared the perfect embodiment of dignity and kingship, a truly majestic figure….I felt a comfort in his presence; I could have sworn he was thinking what I was thinking.  She appreciates his confidence in her when deciding to send her as an envoy to the Amazons:  I savored the element of excitement that surrounded this mission, an opportunity to be of true value to my father’s objectives, to please him in a most meaningful way.  

When she returns to her life in Troy, with its clear demarcation of men’s and women’s roles, Polyxena finds the going rough, but is helped by Priam:  My frustration was alleviated somewhat by the curious behavior of my father who met with me frequently in private, usually in the courtyard, after having concluded one of his meetings, and asked me what I thought about some of the decisions that had been made….His regard for my opinion helped a lot in giving purpose to my otherwise meaningless existence -I am being hard on myself- and kept me stimulated and abreast of the current problems besetting our city.  I looked forward to my sessions with him, as they constituted the most compelling part of the day for me.

While her mother is dismayed over her being unmarried and engaged in unfeminine pursuits such as riding her horse, she says this of her father:  None of the things that so preoccupied my mother about me seemed to matter to him.  Best of all, he had no problem with my single status, never once alluding to it, accepting it as perfectly normal, even making me feel quite good about it.  He saw me as a true individual, tolerating my idiosyncrasies, recognizing the boredom my womanly gatherings posed for me, and understanding the pleasures I derived from riding Zephyrus.  He actually admired my skill in horsemanship, thinking it worthy of a royal princess.  In every respect, his views vividly contrasted those of my mother’s concerning me.  That is why I looked so adoringly upon him.  And although he diligently avoided making references to my mother, he ignored her designs for me as much as I did, dismissing these as not applicable to me.  The importance this had for me, not only in elevating my spirit, but in stimulating my interests, was immeasurable.

 Sad to say, Polyxena was to see her father slain when the Greeks take Troy.


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