Gale's Reviews > Cassandra: A Novel and Four Essays

Cassandra by Christa Wolf
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's review
Feb 15, 2011

really liked it
Read in January, 2011

It is said that all resolutions can be found when looking through women’s eyes. They see the intricate details of a problem, analyzing them one by one. Some people had acknowledged this statement, accepted it even. Yet, what can be done when the woman is believed to be a crazy fraud?

Of the well-known women in the Iliad, some wonder why Christa Wolf chose Cassandra’s perspective in attesting the heroisms of the Trojan War. In the first place, why a woman? Why Cassandra? Biasness aside, I think it was appropriate for an author to value a woman’s judgment regarding the war. Cassandra was righteous – she did not let Apollo control her. She is an intelligent and honest woman. She was fit for the role. Honestly, Christa Wolf did an excellent translation. Moreover, a good thing that came out of it is Wolf let the readers get a glimpse of a mindset of a woman in the midst of her struggles in a society dominated by males. But, because of Wolf’s persistence to present a woman as all-knowing and the idea that if only men would believe women all the time, all would be well, my fondness for the book lessened. I am not prejudiced against women but I think it is essential to get the other characters – both men and women – in the Iliad become more involved as well. Cassandra is a translation, after all. Aside from Cassandra, I felt the rest of the characters were underdeveloped. Wolf only wrote what Cassandra thinks, what Cassandra feels, what Cassandra hears. It was like everything else is censored, filtered in favor of Cassandra.


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