A Comparison of Helen in the Iliad and the Odyssey

809 Words May 29th, 2006 4 Pages
The Iliad and The Odyssey are tales written by Homer centered on the drama of the Trojan War. First poem deals with the time during the end of the war, while the latter, which occurs roughly ten years later, explains the disastrous journey of Odysseus fighting his way back home. The character of women in the Odyssey is to exhibit the many and diverse roles that women play in the lives of men. These functions vary from characters such as the goddess ' that help them to the nymphs who trick them. Women in the Iliad exhibit their significance in the lives of the ancient Greeks because they are so prominent in a world so dominated with military relations. Helen of Troy was one of these women. Like so many women Homer speaks of, her …show more content…
It becomes aware of Homer 's distaste for her because indignity is her central characteristic, and this coming from a writer we have come to associate with honor. It remains unclear whether or not she was forced by Aphrodite to go with Paris. If she was not, then it appears that lust and desire was her sole motivation, leaving her with yet another trait which is unappealing to Homer.
Homer tends to lighten Helen 's betrayal somewhat in The Odyssey. Homer wants to assure the reader that although it is in the past, it will not be entirely forgotten. In this epic she becomes a wife to Menelaus and not in the literal sense because the two have always been married. Instead, she now openly admits to him and other guests that her actions were unspeakable and unforgivable, almost to say that what occurred what unlike her and she actually is a good woman. Also, Menelaus agrees with her, showing no anger. But Homer lets us know that she is as deceitful and conniving as ever, when Helen admits to openly celebrating the fall of Troy, cheering while the Trojan women wept for their husbands. She says "The rest of the Trojan women shrilled with their grief. Not I: my heart leapt up-my heart had changed now-I yearned to sail back home again" (Homer). Thus, Helen goes from being deceitful to adapting disloyalty.
Homer 's dislike for Helen becomes apparent, but only with further examination. In The

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