About Helen of Troy

Since we are talking favourite characters, thought I would talk about one from Greek Mythology, a female figure that I like, and find very interesting. Well, to be honest, you really cannot see any good portion of character development. The larger story is literally involved with the rise and fall of people around her. She even displayed very little emotions and was sort of unaffected by the war outcome. Still I like her 🙂

Helen of Troy, or Helen or Sparta, one of the most controversial female characters in literature, has been the literary and mythic symbol of beauty and illicit love. She was the most beautiful woman in Greece best known for being the cause of the Trojan War. A wholewar which lasted for ten years.

Helen, was flesh and blood certainly, but she was also immortal, since her father was none other than Zeus. Her mother was the beautiful Leda, queen of Sparta, who was ravished by the father of the gods in the form of a swan. Leda’s husband was Tyndareus, who later the same night, unaware of his feathered predecessor, also impregnated his wife. She produced two eggs, one of which yielded Helen and Polydeuces and the other of which contained Castor andClytemnestra.

Helen was a beauty as a child; therefore, Theseus kidnapped her, so that she would be his wife one day. Her twin brothers came to her rescue and brought her back to their mother. When it was time for Helen to marry, many Greek kings and princes came to seek her hand or sent emissaries to do so on their behalf. Among the candidates were Odysseus, Menestheus, and Patroclus, but the favorite was Menelaus who did not come in person but was represented by his brother Agamemnon. All but Odysseus brought many and rich gifts with them. Tyndareus would accept none of the gifts, nor would he send any of the suitors away for fear of offending them and giving grounds for a quarrel. Odysseus promised to solve theproblem in a satisfactory manner if Tyndareus would support him in his courting of Penelope, the daughter of Icarius. Tyndareus readily agreed and Odysseus proposed, before the decision was made, all the suitors should swear a most solemn oath to defend the chosen husband against whoever should quarrel with him. Helen and Menelaus were married.

Following Tyndareus’ death, Menelaus became king of Sparta. Few years later, Paris, a Trojan prince came to Sparta to marry Helen, whom he had been promised by Aphrodite after he had chosen her as the most beautiful of the goddesses, earning the wrath of Athena andHera. Helen fell in love-as Aphrodite promised- and eloped with him, leaving behind Menelaus and Hermione “her daughter”. When Menelaus discovered that his wife was missing, he called upon all the other suitors to fulfill their oaths, thus beginning the Trojan War. Virtually all of Greece took part, either attacking Troy with Menelaus or defending it from them.

The more you read about Helen, the more conflict you feel towards her true nature…To some authors she is a muse, a female figure of anexceptional inspiration. To others she is a deceitful woman who is considered the sole cause of the death of thousands Greek and Trojanmen “…and excited the heart of Helen; maddened by the Trojan man, a traitorous guest, she followed him in a ship on the sea, leaving at home her child and her husband… The Trojan plain holds conquered because of that woman” Alkois here holds Helen responsiblefor the destruction of Troy.

Homer, one of the most celebrated authors of epic literature, has a more complex view of Helen’s character. His Iliad is full of negative references towards Helen from every character who mentions her name.

Here is one of my very favorite pieces, and I think the best written on her; Christopher Marlowe’s Helen in Dr. Faustus:
Was this the face that launched a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul; see where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here I will dwell, for heaven be in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sacked;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colors on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appeared to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa’s azured arms;
And known but thou shalt be my paramour!

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Published in: on October 18, 2005 at 9:10 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. you are amazing nermo, i used to read your blogs daily either iam in or outside egypt, i hope from my heart you can publish your blogs oneday

  2. wut happend to her????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  3. I…hate…Helen.

    sanfoor yakrib


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