The Tragedy Of Paris ' Choice Essay

1347 Words Dec 12th, 2016 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 he understood more / all said to him Take pride / take glory / you will suffer anyway.” The repetition of the “mouth” and the reasons why he should take the rigged gifts emphasizes how virtually nonexistent Paris’ choice actually is. Paris may make the final decision, but is clear that the goddesses really don’t care about his decision; in their eyes, he is unworthy of any of them and they have already discounted his decision because they view Paris as unworthy to judge them. 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.…

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