Essay on Helen of Troy

900 Words 4 Pages
Helen of Troy is the beauteous woman who stole the hearts of men and carried herself as Royalty should. She was a powerful icon in ancient times, so much so that a great war waged because of her. It is thanks to the kidnapping of Helen that the Trojan War occurred at all and took its place in history. Her influence and persona still reverberate in these contemporary times and never cease to cause a stir in the minds of men. In “To Helen,” Poe’s speaker has a very worshipful, personal view of her while in “Helen,” Doolittle’s speaker tells of the deep hatred Greece has for Helen. The difference in these views is illustrated in the contrasting form and tone of the poems as well as the diction and imagery.

The form of the poems, including
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By likening Helen to a statue, the speaker sees her not merely as a famously pristine figure, but rather more as a symbol of hope and meaning. The suggestion becomes ever more worshipful with praiseworthy titles such as “Naiad” and “Psyche”. On the other hand, while the speaker of “To Helen” boasts of a lyrical form, personal speaker, and worshipful tone, the speaker of “Helen” flaunts all of the opposites. Instead of lyrical, “Helen” is strict and rigid, growing longer and increasingly more descriptive as it nears its end. The extensive final stanza, as opposed to the first couple, appears to flaunt the embittered tone of the speaker, as in a confession or rant that cannot be stopped. “Helen” is riddled with unfavorable words such as “reviles,” and “hating,” clearly exuding the ruinous perception of Helen with vibrant text so obviously determined to prove Helen as a thing to be despised. The strength of the blunt terms set the firmly trenchant beliefs of the speaker as a foundation for “Helen”. Even at the start, the speaker begins, “All Greece hates,” accepting the entire country’s disdain for Helen rather than merely the ideals of one, giving more weight to the scorn towards Helen. The apparent contrast between speaker views in “To Helen” and “Helen” can be seen through various means such as form, speaker portrayals, and tone –

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