Category Archives: The Illiad

Beauty: A femimine ideal but should it really be desired?

One of the most famous women in literature, Helen of Troy has been integrated from Greco Roman tradition to Anglo-Saxon culture. Although she “existed” (it’s a myth after all) thousands of years ago she is still a modern symbol representative of womanhood. The notion of a young woman being abducted by a charming prince is not a plea for woman’s rights and their subservient status in history but a tale of treachery.  Helen’s undoubting beauty seems to be her only blessing because her self loath is enormous. While there is uncertainty in whether she wanted to go to Troy the Iliad doesn’t paint the picture of her having any choice. She was a prize to Paris and countless times she expresses her yearning to be back in her home in Sparta. The Trojan War and its years of suffering were placed on her and the only person offering her reprise for this burden was Priam. Helen throughout the story does not place this burden on Paris or even the Gods but as herself, a whore. Her beauty was powerful enough to start a war against men and slaughter thousands but not powerful enough to give Helen strength. Out of all the blood and power thirsty men and petty Gods, Helen the center of it all diminishes and disappears to the back. Helen is just the first of many tales of the weakness and deceit that feminine beauty can bring and that image is repeated over and over in history. So with this in mind, why is beauty still so desirable?

Helen and her glory

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The Decision that Started it All

I see this picture as the first step towards the destruction of Troy. This image depicts Paris making a final decision in a beauty contest between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. The picture is called “the Judgment of Paris.” Because, Paris is given the power of making the final judgment of who’s the most beautiful of the three goddesses. In the picture you can all see Paris handing the golden apple to Aphrodite, and declaring her the winner of the contest and most beautiful of the three. In addition, Aphrodite does reward Paris for his decision and the reward does have a definitive impact. Aphrodite rewarded Paris with her helping hand in abducting Helen, who according to the mythology was the most beautiful mortal woman in the world.  Unfortunately, this Helen chick ended up being married to the one and only King of Sparta. It was like love at first sight between Helen and Paris. Therefore, their love for each other was so strong they couldn’t hold back anymore and live separate lives. Consequently their love would bring Helen to make a selfish move and go with Paris back to Troy. On the other hand, Paris makes a very stupid yet courageous move by making this rash decision. This love for Helen would decide the fate of the Prince and Troy.

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The Iliad

     The story “The Iliad” is another great myth man become heroes by fighting one another or invading and defending the conquests. And it is necessary to discuss how personality of each of these fighters or soldiers influence their reputation around villages and castles. For example, King Agamemnon shows his arrogant and selfish personality throughout the story. We see this when he says to the priest who had recently advised him to give in the girl captured in the battle, “Never again, old man, let me catch sight of you by the hollow ships. Now go, don’t tempt my wrath and you may depart alive.” Undoubtedly, Agamemnos’ personality shows excessive hubris for himself by not willing to trade the girl for a beneficiary treat for him and his castle. And this will eventually led to a downturn of his reputation. On the other side, Achilles has also shown a type of arrogant attitude, especially when they come to ask for his aid to win the battle. he responds, “No, no, here I sit by the ships…a useless, dead weight on the good green earth.” This illustrates, that even though Achilles was a great warrior, inside him still existed the arrogance and selfishness that an honorable warrior should never have.

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