Characterisation of Helen

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In Homer’s Iliad ,Book III opens with the two armies facing each other on the plain outside Troy. Here the character of Helen has been depicted very carefully and dramatically. While Menelaus and Paris are fighting a duel, Iris .the messenger Goddess brought the news to Helen telling her about the duel and it’s outcome being the possession of Helen by the victor. While meeting Priam and his council on the rampart , watching the battle, some Trojan olders say ‘No one could blame the Trojans and the Greek men-at-arms for suffering so long for such woman’s sake.’ She s fearful like the immortal goddess. These comments fill her with guilt and remorse, even though old Priam tries to convince her that she is not the cause of the conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans. She knows what the reality was and taking out her frustration on her handiwork, weaving the images on war into a red robe. She fully realise that the two forces are fighting to see whether Menelaus or Paris will retain possession of her and she worries about the bloodiness of the fight and it’s final outcome.

Helen ran away with Paris and thus bears some of the responsibility for the deaths of so many of her countrymen. Unlike Paris, she does not take her role in the carnage light. She is presented here in the light of her own struggle, the struggle of a virtual prisoner who claims that she would like to be reunited with her original husband Menelaus.her weaving a robe covered with images of war, Greek and Trojans, shows that she undoubtedly realizes the magnitudinal nature, the war has taken because of her. It torments her so much that it must be expressed in her handicraft. His labeling of herself a ‘hateful creature’ and her admission that she wishes that she had died the day Paris brought her to Troy demonstrate her shame and self loathing. Her remorseful reflections upon the homeland that she left behind as she surveys the Achaian ranks arranged beneath the walls of Troy further reveals her...
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