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  1. The ambiguity of Helena’s role in the Homeric work

     

    QUESTION

     Analyze, in the form of a dissertation, the ambiguity of Helena’s role in the Homeric work, base your presentation on elements taken from the Iliad but also from the Odyssey.    

     

 

Subject Literature Pages 2 Style APA

Answer

The Ambiguity of Helena’s role

 

 

Introduction and Literature Review

                Helena was Menelaus’ wife and the individual responsible for instigating the entire Trojan War. Helena was the one of the most beautiful ladies during her time and was married to king Menelaus and the union went on smoothly until the most handsome Trojan by the name Paris showed interest in Helena. Eventually, Paris stole Helena from Menelaus thereby starting a war between the Greeks and the Trojans which the Greeks won and reclaimed Helena. (Glei, 2018)This dissertation mostly focuses on the ambiguity of Helena’s role based on both the Iliad and the Odyssey.

Methodology

                In this literature review, Helena’s role from both the Iliad and the Odyssey will be combined to establish a comprehensive description of her according to both perspectives. The focus of this dissertation is mostly based on the role Helena plays to instigate the war between the Trojans and the Greeks who before the encounter of Helena and Paris had co-existed peacefully. This war eventually results in the destruction of Troy and reclamation of Helena by Menelaus.

                Paris, after his diplomatic trip to Greece, secretly makes away the queen of Greece on his return journey to Troy. While in Troy, Paris’ action comes under criticism from his brother and father but in solidarity, they back Paris anyway. The Trojans are willing to go to war for this course which could easily be avoided by them returning Helena to her matrimonial husband Menelaus. (Zieliński, 2019)

                All this time, Helena stays at Paris’ side seemingly calm and well settled while the war is waged. The war continues and eventually, agents from Menelaus’ side manage to convince Helena to sneak them into Troy while there is an ongoing festival in the Trojan palace. This eventually leads to the crumbling of Troy as this assault is reinforced and Troy is successfully taken by the Greeks. Helena is also reclaimed by Menelaus as they return to Greece.

Objectives and Research Constraints

                This dissertation works to establish whether Helena’s move to Troy from her matrimonial home in Greece was out of her own will and volition or whether she was forced to move to Troy by Paris. In order to achieve this, a critical analysis of both the Iliad and the Odyssey are crucial sources of information. This dissertation is however limited and constrained to Homeric information from either the Iliad or the Odyssey and nothing else.

Discussion

Helena despite being the most beautiful lady  of her time does not have control over key decisions in her life. She is probably married of to a king as per the requirements of societal patriarchy. While in Troy, she is coerced into colluding with the Greeks to let soldiers into Troy. This does not clearly show whether she had a say in the decision or she was strictly following a script laid out by the Greeks.

Moreover, he opinion whether to stay in Troy or Return to Greece does not lie with her as she is not consulted on whether she should return to her husband or stay in her new home. This in effect shows how it is ambiguous to be the most beautiful lady on the land and still not have a say even in decisions that directly influence her life.

Conclusion

                Helena’s inclination is not clear in this case as she stands with the Trojans and still colludes with the Greeks in their conquest of Troy. This is not clear as being on the side of the Trojans; she could have tipped them off of the presence of Greek agents in the city. Rather, she chose to keep this to herself and watch Troy crumble from within while all that time claiming to be supportive of the Trojans. It is unclear whether she stood with Trojans willingly or forcefully as Paris did not force her to abandon her matrimonial home in Greece and flee with him to Troy.

 

 

References

Glei, R. F. (2018). The Ilias Latina as a Roman Continuation of the Iliad. In Brill’s Companion to Prequels, Sequels, and Retellings of Classical Epic (pp. 31-51). Brill.

McCoppin, R. (Ed.). (2020). War and Literature: Commiserating with the Enemy. MDPI.

Zieliński, K. (2019). Women as Victims of War in Homer’s Oral Poetics. Humanities8(3), 141.

 

 

 

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