In Troy, Helen is distinguished from the dark-haired Andromache and Briseis
, who are also depicted as young and good looking, by being the only blonde among them.
The sufferings unwittingly caused by the beauty of Briseis
or Penelope occupy large parts of the two epics.
Not in the case of Helen, who is pretty, passive, and devoid of the self-awareness and ethical complexity she displays in Homer, but in that of Briseis
, who combines the characteristics and actions in ancient texts of Chryseis, Cassandra, and Clytemnestra.
After the tumultuous assembly and the taking of Briseis
, Achilles, alone by the sea, utters a prayer which releases the searing power of the hero's protest at this great breach between what `ought to have been' and the contrasting reality of what is--'as it is', [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (1.
In the end, I will compare the way in which both Weil and the makers of Troy have used the character of Briseis
to grapple with the conflicts of their own times, highlighting the effects of war on the powerless by way of her character.
This obviously evokes Agamemnon's handling of the allocation of the girls Chryseis and Briseis
He has ignored the fact that this line forms part of a speech uttered by a fictional-cum-mythical character, who is displaying a decidedly mean-spirited and unattractive personality for a king; that he has just affirmed (by listing attributes, and in a way which sounds brutal even by the standards of epic) his preference for his slave Briseis
over his wife Clytemnestra--an ominous declaration even to modern ears; and so on.
So that if the carrying-off of Helen leads to war, one may still want to explore the possibilities of the refusal to return a carried-off Chryseis leading to a plague and of the carrying-off of Briseis
to spark a quarrel between two men.
formosa adeo fuit ut Achilles eius amore conflagraverit eamque quamvis ancillam plus quam puellas omnes adamaverit.
Krisayis, the ambitious, determined daughter of the High Priest of Troy, and Briseis
, loyal and passionate princess of Pedasus, interweave their tales alongside Homer's classic story of the rage of Achilles and the gods of Olympus.
61) In reference to women status, Rose has put it that the Iliad shows far more sympathy for women like Helen, Andromache, and Briseis
, for example, that the fear and ambivalence characterizing the Odyssey (CAG, p.
At the time he conquered 23 cities with his Myrmidons, Achilles gave Chryseis to Agamemnon in order to dignify him but shortly afterwards he blundered by detaching with violence Briseis