Female characters in the epics and poems that were written about were never the main characters; they were merely just seen as side-characters, extras to the main Greek male heroes. In class, we have discussed how female figures such as Helen seem insignificant in the texts, but are actually very important to the texts as a whole. In The Iliad written by the famous Greek poet Homer, the main heroes are Agamemnon and Achilles. These heroes are men of the same side who become enemies but then rejoin forces to face a common goal – to win the siege of Troy and the Trojan War. While Briseis and Chryses were the reasons for Agamemnon and Achilles’s conflict, Helen was the cause of the Trojan War. This present scale is very vast, and this scale is directly proportional to the amount of times that each female character speaks in The Iliad. In the case of Briseis and Chryses, they have the most “spotlight” in Book One, and thereafter they do not have any more momentous appearances, except for the small mention of Agamemnon giving Briseis back to Achilles as a sign of submission to Achilles to persuade hi...
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...here is an unsaid power struggle between men and women and the role of women in war time.
Helen is a female figure who is mentioned in many famous Greek texts, speaking of her amazing beauty and her place in the Trojan War. Homer’s The Iliad gives the audience a mix of images of Helen to represent many of the gender roles and expectations of women in Greek society of that time, as well as to display why Helen as a character is so significant in the Trojan War. We see many interesting moments between Helen and other characters such as Paris and Aphrodite in The Iliad, and many of Helen’s characteristics give a certain twist to the generic Greek woman, contributing to the overall attitude that Homer has towards The Iliad. This display of Helen, despite being a woman and position of royalty, showing a bold and almost submissive attitude in her appearances of the epic.
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