ASSIGNMENT ON â€œHELENâ€
Helen of Troy and the Trojan War were central to the early history of ancient Greece. Helen is the object of one of the most dramatic love stories of all time and one of the main reasons for a ten-year war between the Greeks and Trojans.
In the history of Greek mythology and English literature, Helen was the most beautiful woman in the world. Helen of Sparta was better known as Helen of Troy. She was the daughterâ€™s of Tyndareus, king of Sparta. Her mother was beautiful Leda, Queen of Sparta.
One tale says that Helen was daughter of Nemesis, goddess of retribution, who in the form of a goose was ravished by Zeus in the form of swan. Nemesis laid a blue and silver egg, which somehow came into Leda's possession. When the egg hatched, Helen was born. Leda brought the girl up as her own daughter.
On the other hand, Clytemnestra was the sister of Helen, the daughter of Tyndareus. Helen had two brothers, Castor and Pollux. Pollux shared a father with Helen, but Tyndareus was the father of Castor. The two brothers are called the Dioscuri.
After that Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite each reached for the apple. Zeus proclaimed that Paris, prince of Troy and thought to be the most beautiful man alive, would act as the judge. Hermes went to Paris, and Paris agreed to act as the judge.
Hera promised him power, Athena promised him wealth, and Aphrodite promised the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris chose Aphrodite, and she promised him that Helen, wife of Menelaus, would be his wife.
In Sparta, Menelaus, husband of Helen, treated Paris as a royal guest. However, when Menelaus left Sparta to go to a funeral, Paris abducted Helen (who perhaps went willingly) and also carried off much of Menelaus' wealth.
She was so beautiful that all the princes of Greece wanted to marry her. At that moment in Sparta, Helen meets the Mycenaean King, Agamemnon, who is immediately taken by her attractiveness. During the wedding Helen is kidnapped by two Athenians, Theseus and his friend Pirithous. They take her to Athens, where Helen falls for Theseus, before her brother Pollux raids Athens and kills him. As he is vanishing, Theseus stabs Pollux. In Sparta, Helen's father Tyndareus rages at his daughter, blaming her for losing his successor.
It became an unsafe problem for Tyndareus, king of Sparta. He announced that all the princes to come to an agreement that all of them would protect Helen and her would be husband, whoever it might be, if and when necessary. All of them agreed upon the condition. Meneleus was selected as Helenâ€™s husband.
This abduction caused the first war on account of Helen to break out. For her brothers the Dioscuri came to Athens with an soldier, demanding back their sister. And when the people of the city insisted in saying that they neither had the girl nor knew where she had been left, the Dioscuri resorted to war.
After a decade or so of married life, Helen was run off with Paris, the son of King Priam of Troy. Menelaus called on the other suitors to fulfill their oaths and help him get her back. As a result, the Greek leaders mustered the greatest army of the time, placed it under the command of Agamemnon, and set off to wage what became known as the Trojan War.
After the fall of Troy, Menelaus took Helen back to Lacedaemon, where they lived an apparently happy married life once more. There were a number of different accounts of Helen's relationship with Paris. In some, she was truly in love with him, although her sympathies were mostly with the Greeks who besieged Troy.
Finally, the real Helen was reunited with Menelaus after the Trojan War.
Department of English, DIU