EVE, from The Book of Genesis
Eve awakens in a beautiful garden not knowing who she is or why she is there. A man appears and informs her she was created to be a helpmeet for him. “Why was I not consulted?” she wonders. Tempted by a serpent, she and her mate Adam are expelled from the garden and must learn to survive as they can. For centuries Eve has been blamed for committing the original sin. Now, you can hear her point of view on the matter.
HELEN OF TROY
Helen’s story is taken from epics like The Iliad and The Odyssey of Homer, The Aeneid of Virgil and plays like The Trojan Women of Euripides. Born into a royal family and raised as a princess, she is shocked to learn that her father is actually the god Zeus. Forced into an arranged marriage to man she doesn’t love, Helen seizes the opportunity to run away with Paris, the handsome young prince of Troy. He proves to be worthless and vain, and Helen comes to regret the part she plays in causing the war that launched a thousand ships.
In Medieval Europe, a German peasant girl disguises herself as a monk so she can have access to books and education. Gifted with skills in rhetoric, she rises through the ranks in the church and is eventually elected Pope John VIII. After becoming pregnant by her secret lover, she attempts to slip away unnoticed but is discovered when she miscarries during an official appearance.
The daughter of a successful Baroque artist, Artemisia is seemingly destined to follow in her father’s footsteps. One of his associates, however, rapes her at 17. At the sensational trial that follows Artemisia is tortured but never betrays the truth. Later, she becomes a favorite artist of the Medici court, and is commissioned to paint works for heads of state across Italy and in England. Her subjects are often wronged women who stand up for justice: Susanna and the Elders, Judith Beheading Holofernes, Lucretia and Cleopatra.
Shunned by her parents for marrying outside their Quaker faith, Elisabeth Griscom Ross finds herself a widow two years into her marriage. To survive she accepts work sewing uniforms, tents and flags for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. At the request of George Washington, Betsy dines with an enemy commander on Christmas Eve, distracting him while Washington captures Trenton. She remarries twice, to a sea captain who dies in a British prison and again to a childhood friend who brought her the news of the second husband’s death.
Born a slave and the half-sister of Thomas Jefferson’s wife, Sally becomes his property through an inheritance. After Martha Jefferson’s death, Sally becomes his mistress at age 14. She remains so her entire life, bearing six children to the man who wrote “all men are created equal, and endowed by their creator certain inalienable rights…”