What is The Meaning of Curse of Cassandra?

Uma Shankari By Uma Shankari, 30th Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/179buox7/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Folklore

The princess of Troy had been cursed for not yielding to Apollo's advances. The gift she received from Apollo gave her only pain. She was considered a mad woman by her family and by the people of Troy.

Who was Cassandra

Cassandra was the mythical princess of Troy who had the power of prophecy but had been cursed that nobody would believe her. There are several stories why Cassandra incurred the curse. One story is that Apollo wanted to seduce her, and so granted her the power to make prophesies. When Cassandra did not fall for his romantic overtures, he cursed her that the predictions she and her descendants made would not be believed.

Cassandra's Prophesy and The Trojan Horse

Cassandra prophesied that Athenians would destroy and capture Troy. She warned the Trojans not to accept gifts from the Greeks.

The Greeks built a giant, hollow horse (later called Trojan Horse) in which they hid a few armed Greeks and offered it as a gift of peace. The Trojans ignored Cassandra's advice. Believing they had won over the Greeks, the people of Troy drank, made merry and slept. In the pre-dawn hours, the Greeks came out of the belly of the horse, killed the guards and opened the gates to the Greek army, devastated and captured Troy.

The Cassandra curse or syndrome or tragedy refers to the ability to see or understand things – say the outcome of a particular event– long before others, but have no one believe until the prophecy transpires.

Using Cassandra's Curse As a Metaphor

Consider a typical usage:

" Call it my hard luck or the Cassandra syndrome, I knew she was going to dump him if he didn't change his wild ways, but he didn’t believe me when I told him.”

Cassandra can be a metaphor for the frustration someone feels when no one believes the truth they say. For example, it can apply to isolated individuals who see the bigger picture in the business world and predict the onset of market crashes, and everybody dismisses them off.

Incidentally Trojan horse refers to any gift offered with the intent to deceive. Here's another example of this idiom:

"Harry was fooled by Susie’s love note, but the note turned out to be a Trojan Horse because she wrote it just to embarrass him in front of her friends."


Cassandra, Cassandra Syndrome, Cassandra-Syndrome-As-Metaphor, Curse-Of-Cassandra, Greek-Mythology, Idioms, Trojan Horse, Trojan-Horse-As-Metaphor-Or-Idiom, Troy

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author avatar Uma Shankari
I write on society, relationships, travel, health, nutrition and fitness.
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author avatar M G Singh
22nd Feb 2015 (#)

Most interesting post.

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