Cassandra's Rant - Comedic Female Monologue

Summary and Analysis of this Greek Mythology Parody

This funny monologue for actresses comes from an educational comedy play called, "The Greatest Play Ever Written" by Wade Bradford. Written in 2011, the premise of the play is that the narrator attempts to write the greatest play ever by combining all the major literary elements: conflict, genre, character, irony, symbolism.

The scene that includes Cassandra's monologue is a comic mash-up that pokes fun at various characters and situations famed in Greek mythology. The complete script is available at Heuer Plays. 

Character Introduction: Cassandra

According to ancient legends, Cassandra could predict the future, yet no one ever believed her. According to Greek mythology, she was the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Legend also has it that Apollo gave her the ability to tell prophecy to seduce her, but when she still refused he cursed her so that no one would believe her prophecies. 

She foretold that Paris's capture of Helen would cause the famed Trojan War and the destruction of her city. But since the Trojans welcomed Helen, Cassandra was seen as misunderstood or even a mad woman.

Monologue Summary and Analysis

In this scene, Cassandra is at a party in the city of Troy. While everyone around her celebrates the marriage of Paris and Helen, Cassandra can feel that something is not right. She mentions:

"All is twisted and sour -- and I am not just talking about the fruit punch. Can you not see all of the signs?

Cassandra complains about all of the ominous signs around her by pointing out the ironic behavior of the party guests around her, such as:

"Hades is the Lord of the Dead, yet he's the life of the party...Prometheus the Titan gave us the gift of fire, but he's banned smoking. Ares has made peace with the fact that his brother Apollo isn't very bright...Orpheus only speaks the truth, but he plays a lyre...And Medusa just got stoned."

The play on words and allusion to Greek mythology creates jokes that tend to be a crowd-pleaser, especially for literature geeks who don't take themselves too seriously.

Finally, Cassandra ends the monologue by saying,

We are all doomed to die. The Greeks are preparing an attack. They will lay siege to this city and destroy this city and everyone within these walls shall perish by flame and arrow and sword. Oh, and you're out of napkins.

The mixture of contemporary colloquial speech and dramatic presentation reserved for Greek plays creates a comedic juxtaposition. Plus, the contrast between the gravity of everyone being "doomed to die" with the triviality of having no napkins finishes the monologue with a humorous touch.