Helen's Behavior In The Iliad

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It is clear that Helen 's behavior in book 3 is in almost direct correlation to that of Andromache in book 6, in terms of transgressive behavior. To understand this and to analyze any transgressive behavior further, it must first be established that there are very clear and strict gender divisions in the society portrayed in the Iliad. Hector states, "War is man 's business"1 and a women 's business is the "loom and the 2 spindle." ItisthereforemadmorethanobviousbyHectorthatthereshouldbenocrossingof,or ignoring of your responsibility. Transgression therefore, in the context of the Iliad, and gender is the abandonment of your duties and ignoring society 's expectations of you and the people around you. Hector clearly abides by this expectation, however, a further investigation into Helen and Andromache 's …show more content…

A man 's duty in the Iliad is on the battlefield, this plays into E.R. Dodd 's ' theory of the "shame culture"17 which he considers to be an integral part of the society of the Iliad. Hector, for example, "like a good soldier"18 has been trained to "take his place on the front line."19 However, when Andromache begs Hector to retreat and not fight she, again, is herself "going against the grain"20 as Hector told her because she is not playing into this culture of shame where "shame is a motivating force." 21 Helen, though, in this instance, arguably is not acting transgressive. We can understand this through Paris, who, is saved by Aphrodite during his duel where he is taken back to safety in his palace. In terms of this "shame culture"22 Paris is being transgressive by not fighting, and by Helen not telling him to fight, unlike Andromache, we find no transgression in this instance but rather a stark contrast in the behavior of Helen and

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