Literary Criticism Of The Iliad

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In Homer’s the Iliad, characters in high esteem portray personality traits and values that can be respected as well as, condemned. In such a fragile society, such characters may make selfish decisions causing devastating and lasting effects on their whole society. These scenarios are played out when Helen of Troy is abducted by Paris and taken away on ships of the Greek. In her being abducted, she has been called by skeptics, “the face that launched a thousand ships”, meaning that her beauty and Paris’ desire for her beauty caused the disastrous war between Troy and Greece. Helen being the daughter of the gods Zeus and Leda, and wife of Menelaus, the King of Troy, has been critically depicted and examined for years by critics questioning Helen’s true character. In Katie Olesker’s “the Conflicting Views of Helen, the argument of whether or not Helen is a truly righteous woman is critically examined and has two extremely different arguments. On one side of this dispute, Helen is considered a role model today and in the times of Greece and Troy due to the fact that she leapt boundaries set for woman in Greek and Trojan societies. In Helen’s unwilling departure from troy, her loyalty and patriotism shifted and she whole heartedly devoted herself to the Greek, her true heritage. Homer depicts Helen as a woman beholding qualities such as loyalty and trust, although she left her husband Menelaus for Paris. Olesker, the literary critic, analyzes Helen as a Greek woman loyally retaining information from her once homeland, Troy. “ When Helen is speaking with Telemachus, Odysseus' son, she tries to illustrate her loyalty towards the Greeks by explaining that she did not give away Odysseus' identity when he was disguised”(Olesker 1). Although there are few instances of loyalty and righteousness in Helen’s character, Homer still gives the reader insight into these actions
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