Helen In Stanley Lombardo's The Essential Homer

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The Essential Homer translated and edited by Stanley Lombardo, depicts the story of the famous Trojan war. Helen even though not being a central character in the story her role throughout the epic is important. She is created as a suffering figure who is constantly striving for independence and a sense of belongingness among the many different restraints that she faces. Even with the limited amounts of appearances in the epic each encounter with her character the reader is able to learn more about her personality and the way her character evolves in obtaining autonomy and being part of the society she feels excluded from. Helen is time after time blamed as the women for who the famous Trojan war was fought for. In book 3, Helen is the central…show more content…
Through the confrontation with the goddess, Helen accepts all blame for the cause of the war and and even loudly declares her protest against continuing her affair with Paris which omits her from wanting any part in the war. “Go sit by Paris yourself! Descend from the gods’ high roads, allow your precious feet not to tread on Olympus, go fret over him constantly, protect him. Maybe someday he’ll make you his wife- or even his slave. I’m not going back there. It would be treason to share his bed. The Trojan women, would hold me at fault. I have enough pain it is” (III, 430-440). Helen tells Aphrodite that she regrets leaving her marriage with Menelaus for Paris and no longer wants to share a bed with him. By Helen protesting her marriage bed who she shares with Paris she is refusing to enter into the submissive female stereotypes and beginning to use her voice. The bed she shares with Paris to Helen is clear symbolism of what started the Trojan war to begin with. Helen’s character from the beginning of the epic to the end begins to destroy the female domains and challenge what is considered to be traditional gender roles in order to obtain indecency. Objects such as the loom and the bed represent certain female domestic obligations that in society were seen as the norm. Helen protests these object as a way to raise a voice within a society that seems to be oppressing the female
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