Edgar Allan Poe And Hilda Doolittle And The Helen Of Aristotle

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Helen of Troy, also known as the face that launched a thousand ships, is a Greek character known for being the most beautiful woman in the Greek mythological world. Her beauty was a cause worth fighting for, and in some cases, losing lives for. Yet, there is more to Helen than meets the eye. Two authors, Edgar Allan Poe and Hilda Doolittle, describe Helen in two completely distinct ways in their poems. Poe describes Helen as a goddess, while Doolittle describes Helen as physically and internally hideous. According to Poe, Helen’s beauty causes not only all of Greece, but all of Rome as well, to worship her like the goddess she resembles. Doolittle, however, narrates Helen as the person that Greece hates for all the suffering and loss that she made them go through. Poe presents Helen as someone who makes a whole country and another city feel like they are in heaven, while Doolittle presents Helen as the person responsible for leaving all of Greece in a state of despair, and essentially, living in hell. Poe uses his poem to describe Helen as someone who left people with their jaw open in admiration while Doolittle uses her poem to describe Helen as someone who has left the society that fought for her in a state of distress. In his poem, Poe mentions that Helen is: “Like those Nicean barks of yore” (2). Poe is describing Helen’s beauty as that of the Greek goddess of victory, therefore, being victorious in her beauty. He continues to describe her by saying that her hair

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