Paris And Helen In The Iliad Analysis

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The conflict between Paris and Helen is not only extremely intimate because of their personal relationship, but also because there is a lot of power imbalances that they are both trying to take advantage of. Paris and Helen both are stigmatized as the couple that caused so much pain and grief, a role which they both adopt to some extent. In the Iliad, Helen is much more critical of herself and her choices. The reader sees her conflict; she is a Greek woman married to one of the greatest Greek warriors, who is now married to a weak, cowardly man. This is a great insult to her former status as the wife of a Greek warrior. However, Paris does not want his bride to view him as weak, so he attempts to pacify her: “Paris then in turn spoke to her …show more content…
We have gods on our side also. Come, then, rather let us go to bed and turn to lovemaking’” (129). Paris has a lot of bravado here, but it is meant to mask the pain and shame he feels. Helen just vocalized Paris’ own feelings about himself but Paris is not low enough that he would not share his own realization with Helen; this level of intimacy is just not a part of their relationship. He puts on an image of bravado to convince Helen that he is not a failure; this image is the point where the audience comes to the realization that Paris has lost faith that he deserved Helen as a prize. Although Helen is a woman, she is a Greek, who was once queen of one of the most powerful city-states in the world—and renowned for its prowess in battle. She has the heart of a true warrior and Paris has gradually come to recognize this during their time together. For him, Helen is the embodiment of what Paris could ideally be: an effeminate being capable of great feats of strength and battle prowess. This conflict unfolds beautifully in Anderson’s poem, which reimagines this iconic scene from the …show more content…
While Paris passively accepts his fate—with the exception of a few tantrums to Helen when she threatens his masculinity—Helen relentlessly strives to be free of the stigma and pain, which is illustrated quite beautifully in both Euripides and Anderson’s The War. In Euripides, Helen is given much more life, not just as a character, but also as a person. She is given real motivation, fear, emotion, and intelligence that will all play a crucial role in her reunion with Menelaus and their subsequent escape from Egypt. In Euripides’ version of events, Helen is actually blameless for everything that has occurred in the Trojan war; however, she is still at the mercy of another man who is not her husband and is a threat to her sense of self. She is still a victim in Egypt because she lives in fear of violation by King Theoclymenus. However, she refuses to give way to despair, and her reunion with Menelaus drives her to find a way to escape, despite the likelihood of failure: “I

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