Beauty In Wislawa Szymborska's A Moment In Troy

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Historically, the world has been male dominated. For a woman to achieve power she had to be beautiful. Her appearance was her most potent tool. Beauty could gain women a better pick of husbands, and therefore a better life. In the world today, beauty continues to remain a major source of power for women. In the poem “A Moment in Troy”, Wislawa Szymborska utilizes a glimpse into the daydream of a young girl, an allusion to Helen of Troy, and the free verse style to represent the female desire to be desired. Subsequently, Szymborska choses to write about young girls in the stage of life where they have graduated from being cute children without a care, to gawky young adult girls with vast insecurities. The use of protagonists at this age creates …show more content…
She was known as having “the face that launch’d a thousand ships” in Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Helen of Troy is an icon of beauty. Consequently, it is little surprise that Szymborska included this figure in her poem. The title of the piece alludes to the story of the Iliad as well. Troy is the city that Helen is taken to after Prince Paris abducts her. It is also the site of the Trojan War, as the Spartans sailed across the Aegean to fight for Helen. Szymborska incorporates the allusions to Helen in the daydreams of her “little girls.” She states that “In the grand boudoir of a wink/ they all turn into beautiful Helens.” (lines 12-13). Szymborska doesn’t just mean that the girls have become beautiful and stately women, she also uses Helen to symbolize the power the girls have just gained; the power to make men fight ten year long wars over them. Not only that, but the power of their reputation now precedes them. Men will desire them without ever having seen them. Szymborska uses Helen to show that these girls are dreaming of a time when they can be so beautiful that they will have all of the power. Men ruled the world of Ancient Greece. They were kings and scholars and warriors. However, Helen was desired by all. She held power over the men of Greece because she was beautiful. Appearance is traditionally the strongest weapon …show more content…
Young girls see the women who have gained fame and cannot help but think that if they were beautiful, they too could have everything. Over the years since the Iliad was written, the ideals of feminine beauty have changed. Maybe Helen would not be the most beautiful woman in modern society, but the icon of beauty that she is, still represents what every woman wants. Szymborska takes the longing of those little girls and the power that Helen of Troy’s name holds even today to share the female yearning to be desired, and without the emotions Szymborska gives to the reader, her message would not echo out of her

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