Written for, and first produced by, the Field Day Theatre Company in 1990, The Cure at Troy is Seamus Heaney’s version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, and marked the poet’s first venture into drama.
At its heart is the conflict between personal integrity and political expediency, and the ways in which the victims of injustice can become as devoted to the contemplation of their wounds as the perpetrators are to the justification of their system. In this, Heaney saw parallels with the violence then still raging in Northern Ireland. The Chorus speech from the play’s closing scene was to become one of his most famous and oft-quoted passages:

‘But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.’