The Iliad, Book III, Homer:
Within Book III of the Iliad, Helen, the daughter of Zeus, is referred to as "the shining among women." Among the men in pursuit of Helen, Paris is the most persistent in wanting her for himself. He later takes Helen from her husband Menelaus and says, "fight for the sake of Helen and all of her possessions." This caused a battle between Paris and Menelaus for Helen. Although Alexandros fought for Paris and lost to Menelaus, Helen was loyal to Paris and went with him.
The Iliad, Book IV, Homer:
Book IV of the Iliad discusses the start of the Trojan War, ultimately caused by Helen. It is written that the Gods and Goddesses are choosing sides, deciding which side to assist.
The Odyssey, Book IV, Homer:
In Book IV of the Odyssey by Homer, Helen's portrayal is gentle. While during a wedding party, everyone is grieving for their loved ones lost at Troy, so Helen drugs the wine of her husband, Menelaus to help alleviate his sorrow.
The beginning of Euripides' play "Helen" opens several years after the conclusion of the Trojan War. We find her currently placed in Egypt, where she stands unaware that her mother, Aphrodite, has promised her hand to Paris, given that Paris declares Aphrodite to be the most beautiful of three goddesses. Within this work, Helen finds out that her husband, Menelaus is lost at sea, and begins to question whether he is alive or dead.
"Encomium of Helen", Gorgias:
Gorgias' speech “Encomium of Helen” creates many different angles of perception surrounding the motives behind her abduction. He describes her as having “god-like beauty”, and fulfilling the erotic desires of many men.
Return to CLA 1-216-97 home page
Last updated October 23, 2005