Helen in the Homeric Epics


Book Details

Author  Benjamin Messenger
Publication Date   December 24, 2011
Pages  75


"No woman has been remembered throughout history quite like Helen of Troy. Since men in Europe first began to write, Helen was their subject. After more than three thousand years since the events that forged her name, she is still remembered as “the face that launched a thousand ships.” Eternally, divinely beautiful, but also the paradigm of the shameless harlot. No other woman’s name could conjure up the mixed images hers does."

Helen is well known for eloping to Troy with Paris, starting a war that claimed many lives, simply because she could not control herself. She has been vilified by writers from Euripides to Marlowe, even immortalised as a wanton woman in 21st Century Cinema.

But how do we see her in the earlier texts? How did Homer - author of the Iliad and Odyssey - see her and her role in the tale? Is hers the bit-part it first appears, or does she have a deceptively important part to play in this tale of heroes?

This dissertation aims to find the roots of Helen, behind the centuries of smearing.

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