Paris's Choice In Paris: The Tragedy Of Paris

1347 Words 6 Pages
Merwin gives Paris a sympathetic back story in order to fully harness the tragedy of Paris’ choice when her omniscient narrator describes the thoughts of the goddesses and the description of how his choice will ultimately bring him only pain. The decision to use Paris as the judge is completely unfair to him; placing the burden of angering two goddesses on one weak mortal man is a great injustice, but because they are gods, they have no real concept of human justice. The thoughts of the goddesses are meant to chip away at Paris’ power in making his decision: “The scorn above her eyes and her words of which he understood few all said to him Take wisdom / take power / you will forget anyway…the cruelty around her mouth and her words of which …show more content…
This is why they offer him gifts that will only bring him pain and anguish. They are preparing to punish him for daring to judge a goddess. More importantly, they acknowledge that “he had been / happy with his river nymph” when he is offered the choice of Helen. Essentially, they have no regard for Paris’ current life and happiness, only that he chooses a path of their choice. It is here that Paris’ journey diverges from that of a hero. Instead of walking away and taking joy in the life he has, he chooses a path that he is fooled the most by. While Paris is robbed of agency and real choice, the real tragedy is that here he is still a sympathetic character; soon it will be evident that Paris succumbs to his own tragedy and is content to remain the victim of his narrative, instead of its …show more content…
Iris’ message is framed in a manner that expects Helen to be grateful for the war going on outside the city’s walls. Iris’ claims that the war is something marvelous directly contrasts with the somber images in Helen’s weaving, which Iris interrupts to bring Helen to the Skaian gates. Iris is essentially adopting the role that best supports one of the major themes of the Iliad: personal glory. As Iris indicates, Helen should be witness to all the great deeds, heroic deaths, and the ultra-masculine battle for her body; moreover, she should be awed by the greatness this war for her beauty has inspired. However, the setting that Iris describes is key to understanding Hough’s portrayal of Helen. Iris interrupts Helen’s weaving and the description of the scene with Helen weaving interrupts the overall battle narrative with Menelaus and Paris. Helen literally stops all time and action with her mere presence, which Hough harnesses in his portrayal of her: “When she passed the children stood still at their play.” This is framed in a

Related Documents