Helen of Troy figure



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Texas Tech University


The story of Helen of Troy is one that is firmly established in Greek mythology. Her character has survived many years of literary revmtings and analysis. Through her representations in mythology, she is often characterized as an object of seduction and treachery, as well as the cause of the Trojan War. The character of Helen, however, is a construct of patriarchal mythology. In addition to her associations with seduction and treachery, she is a mother, a wife, a sister, and a lover. Through each of these roles, her character fulfills and perpetuates patriarchal ideas about women. The result is that the figure of Helen acquires an unfavorable characterization, often drawing negative connotations. Critical readers, however, must examine the texts and look for fiuctures in the patriarchal ideology that lead to a more complex reading of the figure of Helen. Not only should the reader focus on Helen's acquisition of roles not normally ascribed to females within the patriarchal system, but also, m order to more evaluate more fully the figure of Helen, the reader should give attention to other characters with whom Helen shares characteristics, such as the Sirens.