Andromache in Captivity depicts Hector’s wife at the public well in shame to be seen after her husband’s death and her capture. The Neoclassical composition and style creates drama in the scene as well as the drapery displayed on the figures. She is singled out in the middle, with most of the figures looking at her. Additionally even the orthogonal lines direct straight towards her. Andromache is dressed in all black and covered head to toe while the other figures show more skin and appear to be in lighter colored robes. These details draw the viewer’s attention to her and make it impossible for her to hide.
Her role as a captive mirrors the fear Victorians had of foreign invasion on their women. There are many examples of this in our readings. For example in the Woman in White Laura is captured by Fosco, the main foreign character in the novel. Laura is helpless and eventually ends up in the Asylum, shamed and afraid, similarly to how Andromache felt.
Andromache in Captivity therefore conveys the fear and threat that foreigners represented to European men and their women. Therefore there is a shift to colonize and conquer their lands. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland could be a commentary on this. Alice falls down the rabbit hole into a strange land, however, she has no issues making herself comfortable and inserting herself into whatever situation or conversation she wishes.
The push and pull between fear and desire to conquer the foreign lands appears in many different examples whether it be in literature or art. Nevertheless, it exposes the Victorians and how they viewed society and the world around them.
Andromache in Captivity