Déjà Vu

February 12, 1994

Beautiful maiden, prize of war. Cassandra, fairest of the daughters of Priam and Hecuba. You broke your promise and Apollo has cursed you. Looking back for the last time, over the prow of the narrow ship, carried by a brute to share his bed until he tires of you, thence to the scullery or passed on to a lesser warrior. And so on until you die.

That's Agamemnon's plan-if he's ever thought that far ahead-but it's not going to happen. The city is burning, your father is dead. Knowing it all before it happens. Cringing before the plot unfolding, enticed into hubris, treading red carpet, blood in the bathwater, generations of vengeance. You know what is coming and no one will listen. You foretell the destruction, but no one believes you. Cursed with the truth, your screaming is silenced. Your voice is unheard, your protest prevented. They all think you mad and no one will listen. You are to die at the hand of a woman. The ship grinds onto the shore. Eyes hot with hatred, Clytæmnestra lays out the carpet. The moment is coming. You fall to your knees in terror. Your doom is upon you, but no one will listen.

Déja Vu illusion of having already experienced something being experienced for the first time. French, "already seen."

Cassandra promised her love to Apollo, for which he conferred upon her the gift of prophesy. She broke her word, and the god punished her by letting her keep the gift, but deprived her of the power to make her hearers believe her. I think of Cassandra as a personificaton of the subconscious mind, which understands but cannot speak directly, and whose warnings and cautions are often unheeded.


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Déjà Vu

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