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Paris & Helen's Role in Troy's Destruction

By lloydzee Nov 17, 2010 751 Words
Introduction
The famous (10) years Trojan War as lamented by renowned poet Homer, pitted the Greeks against the Trojans. The Trojan War is arguably the most notable tale from Greek mythology. The war saw the involvement of the Greek gods and goddesses, who took sides as the Greeks battled the Trojans at Troy. Following is a summary of the cause of the Trojan War, and the role Paris and Helen played in the conflict that led to its destruction. The excerpts are from written accounts, according to ancient Greek poets, such as Homer and Euripides. Analytical Background and Cause of the Trojan War

At a wedding dinner that the Greek gods and goddesses were attending, which was between a nymph (fairy) and a king, the goddess Eris, who was associated with discord, was not invited, and decided to instigate conflict because of her own anger. She threw an apple onto the table, and on the fruit she had written that it was to be given to the fairest of the goddesses. This caused the goddesses Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite to debate which one of them was to receive the apple, and hold the designation as the fairest of goddesses. This inciting incidence soon led to a contest which would be decided by a mortal (Paris) on account of Zeus instructions. The roles of Paris and Helen in the destruction of Troy

Paris, a son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, the rulers of Troy grew up a shepherd and cowherd as he lived with a nymph, and he became to be known for his fairness and judgment abilities. Historically, Priam had been informed by way of a prophecy prior to Paris’ birth that this son would cause the destruction of Troy. In a bid to avert this destiny, Priam accordingly brought Paris out of the city when he was young and abandoned him in the wilderness. Helen, on the other hand also known by many writers as the “puppet of the gods and goddesses” was the most beautiful woman in the world. Her outstanding physique and fairy beauty caused the men of Greece to compete in marrying her thereby employing various tactics to win her love. At the end of the competition, King Menelaus of Sparta became the prize winner and married Helen. Elsewhere, there was a wedding between a goddess (Thestis) and mortal. According to Homer’s account, all the goddesses were invited except Hera (god of discord). Enraged by being ignored and overlooked, Hera appeared at the ceremony and dashed an apple with the inscription “to the fairest”. This unexpected gift at once marred the events of the wedding as a struggle ensued between three goddesses as to who was worthy to take possession of the apple. Zeus, the head of the gods and goddesses not wanting to assume a judgmental role in this matter chose the most worthy of all mortals who happened to be Paris. Paris had fairly judged a contest among prize bulls that the god Ares had won, and this prompted Zeus, who refused to decide which of the three goddesses was fairest, to enlist Paris of Troy as judge. Paris was in the land of Phrygia when the goddesses appeared before him and asked him to decide which one was the fairest. Three things that appeal most to men were presented to Paris: power to rule a nation, victory in war, and the fairest woman in the entire world. Immediately a decision was rendered; Aphrodite would claim the title among the three, and Paris would take claim to the woman of his choice, who would later be Helen of Sparta and wife of Menelaus. Helen and Paris fell in love and ran away to Troy to live together. When Menelaus discovered Helen was gone, and Paris refused to return her, the Great War began. For nine years the war waged back and forth in an apparent stalemate. Because of Paris’s poor choice, nations were set on end and war was underway. His selection automatically put in perfect fulfillment the role he and Helen would satisfy in the destruction of Troy. Hence, a seemingly innocent choice made by the young prince of Troy, in which the most beautiful woman in the world was chosen over power, ultimately led to the beginning of the most famous war in Greek history. The Greek fleet then set sail for Troy, with the object of returning Helen to Menelaus. After the Greeks reached Tory, the War began.

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