Symbols Of Helen: The Original Cause Of The Trojan War

2047 Words 9 Pages
Helen is a symbol. She represents honor. She represents glory. She represents valor. By owning her, one owns all those things. She is only an object to both sides of the way. Their fighting will only cease when they are forced to cease from fighting, otherwise they will continue until they unarguably possess Helen and any other women they demand belongs to them. The possession of a woman valued as highly as Helen is necessary to assume that one possesses valor and other masculine virtues. Women are objects to be used. They are means to an end. They are bargaining chips and trophies and symbols. Women are possessions. When Paris chose to seduce Helen and steal her away, he initially did it so he could avenge the shame brought on his family …show more content…
His old aunt, mentioned incredibly briefly, was left while he returned with the beautiful Helen. Performed almost as a trade, Paris took Helen like a begrudging thief would a diamond, for in the esteemed object was vengeance found. Women do not leave of their own accord, they are not believed to have the comprehension and capability to make their own decisions, so instead they are stolen. In Shalvi’s view, “the original cause of the Trojan War was a point of honor, Paris 's seduction of Helen being, initially, an act of "meet... vengeance" for the Greeks ' capture of his "old aunt," Hesione. The daring act meets with applause which only much later, and then only on the part of some of his brother-princes, turns to a questioning of the legality and morality of his action. By this time, however, no regress is possible without incurring shame and dishonor”(Shalvi, 285). If we view the matter from the same perspective as Shalvi, we can infer that there is an understanding among men of the different values a woman can have, with the aunt assumingly not having a truly equal value with Helen, and that this value can depreciate in the eyes of men …show more content…
Valor is why they fight. Honor is why they fight. Dignity is why they fight. They use Helen as an excuse, with some even hating her for what they believe she has done, but others see this as a fortunate opportunity. Battle separates those with valor from those that do not have it. Nestor states that “Doth valour 's show and valour 's worth divide/In storms of fortune” (1.3, lines 46-47). Battle allows them to prove who is truly worthy. Whoever wins possession of Helen does not care about her, but by what owning her means. By owning Helen, it is implied they have valor. By owning Helen, it is implied that they and their cause were honorable. If they could keep their dignity and end this conflict, they would. They cannot, though, as ownership of Helen determines everything about them when it comes to masculine virtues. The losers of the conflict would be forced to question themselves, would be questioned by others. Losing would mean more than their own shame, but shame for their cause and their country. The Greeks will not quit because that means admitting they lack valor and honor. “On the Greek side, Menelaus 's wounded family honor leads him to rouse the Greek princes on his behalf” (Shalvi, 285). Not for Helen, but honor pushes them to continue. The Trojans refuse to surrender her for the sake of their own dignity. “In Troy men are related to their order by obligations of

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