Helen of Troy – The woman renowned as the face that launched a thousand ships. Helen’s beauty spattered many pages of history with blood. Homer wrote a mammoth epic detailing the devastation she had brought in her wake, the bloody war that had broken out in which she was the bone of contention. The mere mention of her name prompts readers to imagine what lethal brand of beauty she must have been to cause such an immutable destruction.
Soldiers preferred death on a foreign soil, even chose to rot in plague but none harboured thoughts of leaving her behind. She was the Greek honour at stake and Paris had spat on that honour. He pocketed her as if she was a wayside whore when in fact she was the Spartan queen, the wife of Menelaus. A marvel of goddess Aphrodite, Helen was almost immortal, at least her charm was. No wonder Paris was so enamoured by her that he didn’t think twice that abducting her would be tantamount to plunging Troy in a suicidal bloodbath.
Numberless men died on both sides. Women were widowed and raped. Hector was dragged all the way to the Greek ships and Achilles heel finally became his chink in the armour. All this happened when Helen, under the spell of Aphrodite, infringed the peace treaty and followed Paris all the way to Troy. Indeed one man’s lust breached the invincible walls of Illium that had survived the greatest of assaults but gave way when hospitality was murdered.
Due to the terrible consequences, Helen was much cursed by the women corralled within Priam’s kingdom. She was almost perceived as the witch who had come to sink her vicious teeth into the flesh of every Trojan. In the midst of all the uproar, none cared to understand the miserable existence that beautiful woman led. Not one stopped to learn from her that she didn’t act out of her own will. Rather she was wire pulled by Aphrodite to sleep with a man she thoroughly repulsed. In a way, Helen the most beautiful woman in the world was just like any other damsel in distress. Chained down in invisible shackles, prodded time and again by a goddess to prostitute to the greed of a lecherous man.
Her daily dose of torture it was to witness the massacre going on for her retrieval. She was cursed and taunted till she felt suicidal only that she couldn’t find her coveted escape. There was no escape for her, not even death. Hitched into a forced union with Paris who wanted nothing more than her body. She knew very well that her old husband was out there on the battlefield, fighting restlessly but not to win his wife back. She knew it was the wounded pride Menelaus was battling for. Not for her kidnapped wife. In fact, she wasn’t unaware of the fact that he’ll probably slaughter her the moment she would fall into his clutches. Unfortunately, she wasn’t the love of her man but objectified as his ego for the preservation of which, endless lives were snuffed on the battlefield.
Little did anyone know that Helen died a little everytime. She was the captured bird in the gilded cage, claustrophobic within and vulnerable outside. The cries of maimed soldiers found their way and wafted in her ears mingling with the moans of delirious widows, rendered unconscious after receiving news that their husbands have been mashed in the tussle between the powerful men. Helen underwent a mental trauma. Evidently, she was judged based on her appearance and consequently sneered upon. She could do nothing but hang her head in shame when Andromache howled seconds after Hector was cut down by Achilles. The shame was immeasurable. She could almost feel the palpable curse hurled by the fatherless son and her widowed mother.
Helen, though innocent and faultless, suffered the excruciating pain of a guilty conscience. She had to live a life branded as the nefarious cause of the hell that was unleashed on the once prosperous city of Troy.