Helen of Troy and Her Role in Launching the War
One in six American women are victims of attempted or completed rape according to the National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Unfortunately, rape is common. It is not so wrong, then, to suggest the large possibility of Helen of Troy’s abduction by Paris to be against her will. Rape is never the victim’s fault. Helen is an example of such a victim. She in no way should be blamed for starting the Trojan war through being with Paris, as she did not knowingly go with him and engage in sexual relations with him. It is absolutely ridiculous to blame victims for their misfortune, especially for their misfortune playing a part in starting war. If someone were to accidentally be struck by lightning and it was misconstrued as a gunshot that started a war, should we blame the stricken victim, or should we pity him and perhaps even praise him for withstanding such a tragic event?
Take into consideration that Helen was in the same position as the lightning strike victim. And, even if Paris did not violently and forcibly assault Helen, she is still not to blame, he is. Paris’s persuasive discourse could have convinced poor Helen into going with him. Persuasion, true persuasion, can be a nasty tool when attempting to convince innocent people to make poor decisions they do not recognize as wrong. Such a cause for Helen’s leaving with Paris acquits her of blame for the war: it was the persuader, Paris, not her.
Additionally, Helen was considered the most beautiful woman in the world at the time (consider more beautiful than, say, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Lawrence, Beyoncé, Mila Kunis, et cetera), and was desired by many men. She had the beauty of a goddess, understandably, as her parents were Zeus and Lena. Helen cannot be held accountable for her mesmerizing desirability causing the abduction, and subsequently, the Trojan war. If anything, she should be pitied for having to withstand Paris’s kidnapping and possible rape. Once again, a factor in Helen’s situation that she could not have controlled caused her great misfortune that, unfortunately, lead to war.
It is also relevant to consider the topics of fate and the Gods, as these could have been the major factors in Helen’s leaving with Paris. She could not have controlled divine forces and the will of the universe, so why blame her? If it was indeed the Gods and fate to blame, that is a misfortune to Helen, not her choice. If it was a love for Paris that deceived Helen into going with him, that is a misfortune to Helen, not a sin. Love is a force more powerful than any person. She could have been mislead through a tragic affliction, but no matter what the reason, Helen did not plan to go with Paris, so the war was not her doing.
In summation, Helen of Troy is not responsible for causing war. In each set of possibilities of why she went with Paris, she is not the one to blame. Whether she was abducted by force and possibly raped, evilly persuaded and tricked into going with Paris, thrown into the events that transpired by fate and divine forces, or was seduced by the power of love to go with Paris, Helen did not cause her abduction purposefully. She should not be held accountable for causing war, and instead should be pitied and even praised for having to go through such taxing events and being wrongfully blamed for the catastrophic incident of war.
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