Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Priam, Hector, Paris, and Helen of Troy (formerly, of course, queen of Sparta) all make their But perhaps most outrageous is Paris's retreat to his marriage bed. Start studying Quiz 3. Learn vocabulary battles against menelaus because of their quarrel over Helen saved by goddess of childbirth and marriage. Zeus. would be the next king of Troy (c) sold him to Phoenician slave dealers (d) gave get the golden apple (d) his decision to kidnap Helen from his host a child (b) newly married to Menelaus but still a virgin (c) in the early years of marriage.
As you suggest, I felt that Paris knew it would be taken the wrong way by Helen and might sow seeds of doubt in her mind that he had freely chosen her. It would belittle the feelings they had for each other and make them feel like slaves of the goddess.
Are you interested in fictionalizing other mythical characters? How successful do you find the attempts by other authors? I am intrigued by the relationship between Persephone and Hades; this needs exploring. Being Queen of the Underworld has a Poe-like fascination.
Someone noted that even though Persephone is only in the Underworld half the year, people die all year, so what happens to them if they die when she is away?
I have also heard a suggestion that she actually preferred the company of Hades to that of her mother, Demeter, and that far from being tricked, she ate the pomegranate seeds on purpose so she could stay with him. She became a literal femme fatale, ruling from her black marble throne over the dead. Atalanta, the swift-racing maiden who also hunted the fearsome Calydonian boar and joined Jason and the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece, would certainly lend herself to a modern reinterpretation.
She was the foremost female athlete in Greek mythology, and also beautiful, of course. All retelling of myth proves how alive these stories still are and how they resonate with us today.
Some retellings are just that and others seek to reinterpret the myths in new ways. In general I think the ones that do not seek to overthrow the basic mind-set of the stories fare best, such as the works of Mary Renault.
The main decision, whether to keep the gods as main players or not, is the key one. Without the gods, much of the motivation of the human characters collapses. Attempts to substitute something else, for example, making the war at Troy just about trade, fall flat. One of the surprises readers will encounter in Helen of Troy is the unflattering portrayal of Odysseus. Full of deception, yes, but Odysseus is certainly one of the most likable characters in ancient literature.
Why did you portray him as little more than a conniving liar? Other stories make him more and more low minded, so that he lies in wait for revenge on Palamedes because he once outsmarted Odysseus by revealing his trickery, thereby sending him to the war.
With trumped-up charges, planted evidence, and false witnesses, he gets Palamedes condemned to death by stoning. A modern military analyst has said that today Odysseus would be court-martialed for his failure to bring any of his men home, after needlessly endangering their lives throughout his mission.
Not much of a recommendation! However, he has always been a popular and likable character in the sense that rogues in general are likable characters.
We like seeing how he gets out of scrapes, and he is endlessly resourceful and entertaining, and his wiliness serves him well. The blundering Agamemnon, returning from Troy, walks mindlessly into his palace, suspecting nothing, where he is immediately murdered.
Odysseus, returning from Troy, scouts out the situation in Ithaca, disguises himself, and prevents such a fate.
Now how can we help but like, even admire, such a character? And the novel is told from her point of view. How could she like the man who invented the Trojan Horse and thereby caused the fall of Troy? Do you find the pagan world to be spiritually impoverished? Some people in the pagan world itself found the official state rites and sacrifices lacking in meaning, and they turned to mystery religions that offered a deep personal connection to the gods and promised a richer afterlife.
The Eleusinian Mysteries, described in the novel, were wildly popular and continued to be celebrated even after the Roman Empire became officially Christian. Early Christians freely adapted some elements of the mystery cults, infusing them with their own interpretation. Also, by the time of the beginning of Christianity, many Greeks and Romans had ceased to believe in the Olympian gods as having any sort of reality, which left a great hunger in their lives, especially as these gods did not offer them moral guidance or a consistent code of ethics to follow.
Christianity, more immediate and more reassuringly personal, guided them in new spiritual directions. The classical world in general, and Greek myth in particular, seems to be experiencing a renaissance in twenty-first-century popular culture. What makes these myths so enduring?
What makes them especially popular in contemporary culture? The myths all center on basic questions, desires, or needs on our part, so they endure forever. Passion—how important is it to the complete life?
War—why do we seemingly need it? Destiny—how much do we control, how much are we controlled by outside forces? The answers are endlessly relevant and fascinating to us, and we explore them over and over again by revisiting myth. In myths we see them in their starkest, stripped—down form, where we can study them directly. And besides that, they are just cracking good stories that carry us along. If you give in to passion, what will happen?
If Troy is too strong to be assaulted, what sort of trick will do the job instead? Myth is personal that way. You invent your own version of the myth as you relive it. There have been several portrayals of Helen in the distant and recent past. What were you hoping to accomplish with this one? What do you think is the most controversial or startling element of your portrayal? When I was in Sparta doing my research on Helen, my hotel room had a view of the hilltop where her palace had stood.
In the dream she was not at all as I had imagined her. She was neither blond nor redhaired nor brunette, but had masses of hair that was more the color of cognac or topaz. Her presence was powerful and electrifying. So that is the Helen I felt she wanted the world to know, and the Helen I tried to portray.
This strong, intelligent, questioning Helen is the most startling element of my portrayal, but I also wanted people to know she had a life beyond the fall of Troy. Her story does not end with the Trojan Horse but reaches years beyond that. She is an elegiac figure, a noble and grand presence, and I made her Shakespearean—more Shakespearean than Shakespeare himself, actually.
In Troilus and Cressida, she is a silly giggling thing. It has often been said that true romantic love cannot last; it usually suffers the fate of infidelity, indifference, or a premature death.
Do you find this a convincing portrait of romantic love? Her mesmerizing looks command attention. Does her power ever stem from more conventional sources like courage or wisdom? What do you make of Antenor? Because of her powerful allure, the young Helen is made to wear a veil and prevented from looking at her reflection. Paris is usually characterized as a weak playboy or uxorious husband.
In this telling, he is somewhat rehabilitated, especially when refusing to be ashamed of his lowly upbringing and showing genuine bravery and leadership after the death of Hector. Do you find Paris heroic in this novel? How does he compare with the feats of Hector? Throughout this novel Helen forms powerful, loving relationships with several men: Helen decides to leave Hermione behind in Sparta instead of taking her to Troy.
Why does she do this? Does this complicate your judgment of Helen? Did you find her defense against his unwanted advances—i. Why does Helen choose him for a husband? Discuss the role of women in both Greek and Trojan society. Is it symbolic only? How are women treated in Troy? Castor and Polydeuces were so closely attached they swore to die together, even if Polydeuces could not hope to fulfill this resolve.
The relationship between Helen and Clytemnestra was not so simple. Helen was stunningly beautiful, and this must have caused Clytemnestra some wistful moments when inevitable comparisons were made. When the sisters reached puberty, Helen was kidnapped. Both the aging Theseus, king of Athens, and his friend Peirithous, king of Larissa, wanted to have sex with one of Zeus' daughters before they died. Theseus chose Helen, whose remarkable beauty was already talked of far and wide.
The abductors took her to Aphidna, a small city north of Athens, and left her in the safekeeping of one of Theseus' vassals. He put his mother, Aethra, with her as a guardian and companion. Inevitably, stories arose that Theseus took her into safekeeping to do Tyndarcus a favor. One of Tyndarcus' nephews was persistently pursuing her as a suitor, even at her very young age. Another story said the sons of Apharcus, Idas and Lynceus, stole her, which caused the famous fatal battle between them and the Dioscuri.
After all, that was the object of the kidnapping. Some suppose that he planned to keep her intact until she reached marriageable age. But the more realistic writers even gave the couple a child. Interestingly, but improbably, the child was Iphigeneia.
We cannot know how long Helen was at Aphidna. Theseus had accomplished his goal, so he left her and went with Peirithous to Hades to steal Persephone. This was foolhardy as it turned out, for both were imprisoned, Peirithous forever. The Dioscuri meanwhile raised an army and marched on Athens. The Athenians knew nothing of the outrage to their sister, but one Academus had knowledge of the facts and revealed the hiding place. The brothers razed Aphidna and delivered Helen, whom they carried home to Sparta, along with Aethra and Peirithous' sister as personal slaves to their sister.
Clytemnestra married during this time, first to Tantalus, son of Thyestes, and later to Agamemnon, who killed Tantalus.
If Helen did bring a baby back from Aphidna, it made good sense for Clytemnestra to adopt it, since Helen was still considered a virgin. If the child was Iphigeneia, some of the drama of sacrifice at Aulis would be diminished, and Clytemnestra's revenge motive would not be as strong.
It is probably best to go with the common story that Helen had no child by Theseus and that Iphigeneia was the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. Upon Helen's return to Sparta, an avalanche of suitors started to arrive. It would be interesting to explore the dynamics of this mass courting. Every red-blooded male in Greece who had heard of the gorgeous Helen dreamed of possessing her.
But acting on such ambition had a price tag. One had to be able to afford an impressive appearance, complete with attendants, gifts, and other evidence of affluency. It must be pointed out that the suitors were really wooing Tyndarcus, not Helen. Their expense was nothing to what the process cost the father. The suitors and their attendants had to be lodged and entertained, and the laws of hospitality probably did not allow for limits on the duration of one's stay.
Helen of Troy by Margaret George - Reading Guide - animesost.info: Books
The roll call of suitors shows that they came from all parts of Greece and represented the finest stock of heroes and heirs to property and wealth. There were other lists, of course, with considerable variation in the names. It is interesting to learn that some of the suitors did not appear in person but sent representatives with offers of handsome dowries. Ajax the Greater promised considerable property, some of it not his own but to be acquired if he was chosen.
Odysseus took no gifts, not expecting to win. Idomeneus of Crete appeared in person, depending on his extraordinary good looks to overcome the competition. Tyndareus was at a loss as to how to proceed, because he feared reprisal from the unsuccessful. Happy to settle for Tyndareus' niece, the wily Odysseus offered a solution in exchange for Penelope, a match Tyndareus was able to arrange with his brother Icarius.
Odysseus suggested that each suitor swear an oath to stand behind whomever Tyndarcus selected and be ready at any time in the future to defend the favored bridegroom against any wrong done to him in respect to the marriage. Everyone agreed to these terms, and Tyndareus promptly chose Menelaus, whom he had probably had in mind all along.
It may be important to realize that Helen really had little say-so in this arrangement. Menelaus was a political choice on her father's part. He had wealth and power, mainly through his brother Agamemnon, but for Helen he did not offer the good looks and glamor of some of her other suitors.
It was her lot to grace the palace and the kingdom Menelaus soon inherited. She gave birth to Hermione, Aethiolas, Maraphius, and Pleisthenes, and, according to some, Nicostratus, although many claimed he and Megapenthes were the sons of Menelaus by Pieris, a slave.
In that case, we can took at an additional reason for her own infidelity: She had no way of knowing about another amorous adventure Menelaus was having in Crete during the time he was attending his grandfather's funeral. According to some writers, Sparta experienced a plague during the early years of their marriage, and Menelaus was advised by an oracle to go to Troy to observe propitiatory rites at the graves of Lycus and Chimaereus, sons of Prometheus, who were buried there.
Menelaus did so and was accompanied on his return by Paris, who had accidentally killed his best friend in an athletic contest and needed purification. The two arrived in Sparta, and during the several days necessary for the purification ceremony, Paris had many opportunities to see the gorgeous woman who had been promised to him. About the time the absolution was completed, Menelaus had to leave unexpectedly for Crete to attend funeral ceremonies for his grandfather Catreus.
Ingenuously he left the handsome visitor to be entertained by his wife. Helen had been utterly charmed by the stranger.
He was by nature already handsome, but Aphrodite, as if to guarantee the success of her project, had made him even more irresistibly beautiful. In addition, he possessed manners and charm, and it was impossible for Helen not to fall in love with this superb young man.
He, of course, had fallen under her spell the instant he laid eyes on her. Menelaus had not been gone long before the lovers departed.
About Helen of Troy
Some say they left the very next night, but some preparation must have been necessary. Paris had his own ship, and certainly he had retainers with him befitting his royal status. Helen required her own attendants, who included Aethra, the mother of Theseus; Thisadie, sister of Peirithous; and Astyanassa, Clymene, and Electra, servants.
According to some reports, Paris helped himself to the royal treasury. It does not speak too well for Menelaus' authority that his security forces would have allowed this flagrant plundering. He must have left a considerable army behind when he went to Crete. It is likely Helen had a sufficiently large number of loyal subjects that she could come and go without question. Undoubtedly many of the palace guards were secretly in love with her.
Inevitably there were the stories that sought to make Helen look sinned against rather than sinning.
Helen of Troy Reader’s Guide
According to these, she was taken by force. One silly version even suggested that Aphrodite deceived her by giving Paris the appearance of Menelaus. It was Aphrodite herself, though, who had pronounced a curse on Tyndarcus that his daughters Clytemnestra, Timandra, and Helen would be adulteresses, and she probably did not allow for such an excuse as involuntary adultery.
At Gythium, the port of Sparta, they embarked after Paris dedicated a sanctuary to Aphrodite Migonitis in appreciation for her assistance. They were barely under way before they stopped at the island of Cranae, still within view of Gythium. So far the couple had not been to bed together, even though there was ample opportunity after Menelaus left.
Perhaps Paris felt comfortable in robbing the treasury of his host but not further violating the code of hospitality by sleeping with his wife in his own house. For some similar moral reason, Helen may have held him off until they had left the mainland. Or maybe it made good sense to erect the sanctuary at Gythium to Aphrodite, who might otherwise give them trouble at a later time. Paris could have had in mind to make for Onugnathus, farther down the Laconian Gulf and more or less out of immediate range of any pursuers, but biological urgencies probably forced him to cast anchor immediately.
The consummation stuns the imagination. What a sublime moment for Paris, who now lay with the most desired woman in the entire world. Undoubtedly his passion was heightened by Aphrodite, who must have considered this her most inspired achievement. As for Helen, there could have been a bittersweet response to the great moment. Until then she had experienced sex with only the aging Theseus and the prosaic Menelaus. This virile young man must have given her bliss she had not imagined, but certainly the shadow of her infidelity and the abandonment of her children must have cast itself across the love couch.
The trip thereafter has been variously described. The temptation to embroider on the already rich tapestry was too strong to resist. The ship went to Egypt and Phoenicia. According to one account, Proteus, king in Egypt, took Helen from Paris and gave him a phantom image of her, restoring the real Helen to Menelaus on his return from Troy. This inane account would then make the Trojan War a total mockery.Helen Meets Menelaus - "The Trojan Women"
Another similarly tiresome account had Paris robbing the king of Sidon, who had offered the party hospitality on their way up the coast. Already disgraced in most eyes, Paris would then have been little more than a pirate. Whatever minor adventures befell them, the company came at last to Troy. A wedding ceremony took place, and it was as though Helen was marrying Troy, since her destiny became at that moment interlocked with the destiny of the city.
Even Priam was fully won over and vowed to protect her as long as she wanted to remain. The lovers had barely left Sparta before couriers were running swiftly to all parts of Greece. The unthinkable had happened.
Menelaus came swiftly back from Crete, where his loitering with a nymph had allowed the elopers ample time to outdistance any possible pursuit. Not only was his family dishonored, but he took the insult almost personally. One suspects he himself was in love with his sister-in-law. Swift action was taken. Menelaus, Odysseus, and, according to some, Acamas, the son of Theseus, went to Troy to demand that Helen be returned.
Incidentally, this above all would seem to silence the versions that had Paris and Helen taking months to reach Troy. Though counseled by such advisers as Antenor and Aeneas to surrender Helen, Priam stubbornly held to his promise to her.
Moreover, he recalled the reverse situation when his sister Hesione had been kidnapped by Heracles and Telamon, and the Greeks had turned deaf ears to entreaties for her return. The envoys returned to Greece, and preparations for war began. The former suitors of Helen were reminded of the oath they had sworn. Armies were recruited and ships were built.
Men who had been boys when Helen married came forward to enlist in a cause that the gods transported her to Elysium. This was the most fitting end of the story since Helen was, after all, immortal. Consequently, Menelaus could scarcely have carried out his intention of killing her when he was reunited with her at Troy. Immortal or not, her physical remains and those of Menelaus were supposed to be buried at Therapne in a temple dedicated to them.
Writers even followed her into the afterworld, where they had her marry Achilles, making him her fifth husband, following Theseus, Menelaus, Paris, and Deiphobus. From there she was even said to have blinded the poet Stesichorus for writing unflattering things about her; she restored his vision when he recanted and composed a poem in her praise. The most fascinating thing about Helen was her story.