Helen Of The Odyssey : A Character From Ancient Greek Literature

1526 Words Aug 26th, 2014 7 Pages
Helen of Troy will always be a notable character from ancient Greek literature. From the moment Homer first spoke of her, certain things about her will be forever more written in stone. She will always be female, the wife of Menalaus, cause of the Trojan War, beautiful, and the daughter of Zeus. These are things that very few orators and authors dare to meddle with and those who do come out perhaps not as well of on the other end of things. There are however, the reactions and the inferences to the facts about Helen that can be shaped and molded into the creation of a certain view of the woman herself. While basic similarities between the two portrayals of Argive Helen exist, the Helen seen in Book Four of the Odyssey is a very different woman from the version poeticized in Sappho Poem 16 based particularly on three fundamental differences: the power or lack thereof placed in Helen 's beauty, polar opposite views on her desire for her child and home, and the two opposing forces that brought about her absence, the latter of the two being completely entwined within the concept of free will and choice. Beginning with the more superficial of the three differences, Helen has always been described as the most beautiful woman on earth precisely as she is in Sappho Poem 16. That she is described as "She the most fair/ of mortals, Helen..." (Sappho, 16.5-6) brings nothing new to the table. However the fact that her beauty is not once mentioned in an entire book of the Odyssey does…

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