Helen of Troy Essay

858 WordsMay 31, 20134 Pages
The Iliad describes several conflicts including the one between Achilles and Agamemnon and between the Greeks and the Trojans. The conflict between the latter was ignited following the abduction of Helen of Sparta, Agamemnon’s sister-in-law. Discussed below is a depiction of Helen’s character and role in the epics of the Iliad. Helen’s first appearance in the Iliad arrives when Iris came as a messenger to her and found Helen in her room, “weaving a large cloth, a double purple cloak, creating pictures of the many battle scenes between horse-taming Trojans and bronze-clad Achaeans, wars they suffered for her sake at the hands of Ares.” (Il.3:140-143). “Come here, dear girl” Iris begins to inform Helen that “Alexander and war-loving Menelaus are going to fight for you with their long spears. The man who triumphs will call you his dear wide.” (Il.3:150-142). Helen leaves the house shedding tears. This incident portrays Helen’s feeling of guilt and her willingness to accept responsibility for the cause of war. As Helen was approaching the Scaean Gates, the old men sitting on the tower commented: “There's nothing shameful about the fact that Trojans and well-armed Achaeans have endured great suffering a long time over such a woman—just like a goddess, immortal, awe-inspiring. She's beautiful. But nonetheless let her go back with the ships. Let her not stay here, a blight on us, our children." (Il.3:168-174). This quote implies that although Helen was beautiful, she was perceived as a blight - or a disease - that brings destruction to wherever she goes. Thus, it leans towards the argument that Helen is an innocent victim of divine intervention. When Helen reaches the old men at the Scaean Gate, she speaks for the first time in the Iliad and responds to Trojan King Priam’s addressing her: “My dear father-in-law, whom I respect and honour, how I wish I'd chosen evil

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