Meaning of: ''You're such a Cassandra''

I think it might have something to do with Greek mythology, because it was used a couple of times in Mighty Aphrodite. I’ve heared it elsewhere, so that’s why I was wondering. Is it kind of like saying someone is a being a drama queen about something, or am I way off? Who was “Cassandra” and what’s the deal with the saying?

I put this in Cafe Society because a movie made me curious, if it’s the wrong place, then a moderator can do whatever is convenient and move it or close it.

Cassandra (daughter of Troy’s King Priam in Greek literature) had the unhappy knack of predicting the future but never being believed.

Early tradition was that she had the gift of prophecy but was never believed; according to the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, the disbelief part was a curse from Apollo after Cassandra spurned his love.

She also tended to predict negative things such as the fall of Troy. She wasn’t the type pf person to predict “you TOO COULD be a winner!”

Some people miss the point of the story. When they call some one a “Cassandra” they mean that the person is just a pessimist, always predicting the worst. That is probably the use to which you refer.

To be called a Cassandra is a compliment. It implies that you are an accurate forecaster, but people round you will not listen. Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy, but she rejected him. So, he cursed her by making sure no one would believe her true prophecies.

Cassandra had a miserable life. No one in Troy believed her, and she was treated as mad. As she predicted, her city was destroyed and her family killed. She was carried off by King Agamemnon, as a souvenir of his trip to Turkey (Asia Minor).

Agamemnon’s wife Clytaemnestra was not best pleased with him. He had sacrificed their daughter Iphegenia to get a good wind when he was sailing to Troy. Then, he stayed away for ten years, before returning home with a new concubine - Cassandra.

That would put a strain on anyone’s marriage. Clytaemnestra killed both her husband and Cassandra. As usual, no one had listened to Cassandra when she predicted it would happen.

I believe Apollo added the particularly nasty twist in that the more accurate her prophecy, the less she would be believed. And the lest she was believed, the more accurate her prophecy.

It doesn’t pay to get involved in a romantic relationship with those Greek gods.

I agree. Zeus (aka Jupiter) had a reputation for turning up in the shape of a swan or a bull, and expecting to get his leg over. (The swan business led to the phrase “Take me to your Leda”,)

What is more surprising is how successful this method of seduction seems to have been. Women in those days had more sophisticated tastes in love partners.

BTW, to justify this thread being in Cafe Society, I refer you the plays of Aeschylus and Euripides, which deal with Agamemnon and with Iphigenia’s stories, and of course to the original Homer (before Simpson) for more details on Troy.

Let us salute the white-eyed Athena, and the wine dark sea.

Don’t forget Dawn and her rosy fingers, or wily Odysseus. But didn’t Athena have gray eyes?

I loved all those Homeric epithets.

Hey, gray eyes is better than poor Hera, she has cow eyes!

The point of the joke in MIGHTY APHRODITE is that the character being told “You’re such a Cassandra” literally IS Cassandra. In other words, the phrase is being used in the degraded sense of someone who’s pessimistic and always predicting the worst, when in point of fact the character is the genuine article whose predictions are not pessmistic but accurate. As she says in the film:

“I’m not A Cassandra. I AM Cassandra.”

In a metaphorical sense, a Cassandra is someone who is intelligent enough to see problems that the people around her are ignoring.