Helen of Troy

Helen of Troy

When Zeus, the most powerful god in Greek mythology, asks you to become a beauty-contest judge, you do it.

It wasn’t going to end well for anyone who took on the job. And Paris, being a naive young low-level worker in the agricultural business, did what he was told. His job was to decide which of the three goddesses was the most beautiful.

Well, would you want the job?

Think about it. If you take the job you’re guaranteed two unhappy losers. And prickly goddesses are not the sort of thing you want cluttering up your life.

Aphrodite, the goddess of sexual love and beauty, wins the contest, and the other two, Hera and Athena, plot to get even.

Paris chooses Aphrodite’s offers to help him get Helen, daughter of the King of Sparta and the most beautiful woman alive. What young Paris doesn’t know yet is that Helen is grumpy and demanding. He will find out soon enough.

For now, Aphrodite has Paris’s back. He is blinded by love for Helen and imagines nights of erotic bliss. Excitingly, he’s just discovered new seductive skills and has no trouble luring Helen away to Troy with his smooth-tongued pick-up lines.  

PARIS: “Let’s go to my place.”

HELEN: “I suppose so.”

Helen’s husband, the King of Sparta, doesn’t miss his trophy wife much. Anyway, that endless babble was getting on his nerves. Always there are complaints about the clothes, the food, the temperature of her bathtub, and which direction her window faces today. Nothing is good enough for Helen. Her husband is grateful to Paris for taking her off his hands, but he can’t say that aloud.

On the other hand, to do nothing wouldn’t look good. So he does what any Spartan does he declares war. True to character, the manly bronze-age Greeks set off to Troy to get Helen back.

But the war drags on and after ten years of laying siege to Troy, the Greek army is having second thoughts about getting Helen back. Most had forgotten who Helen was and now rumors had spread of her constant grumpiness and appetite.

But the Greeks had valiantly tried hard to get into the city.

Some brainy Greeks had the idea to send in a wooden horse filled with soldiers. But the catering core had plans of their own. There would be no Trojan Horse but a Trojan Pie. No one would guess it was a trick. Everyone thought this was a brainwave, which it was. The Trojans couldn’t resist a good pie.

The Trojans feasted upon the crusty comestible for weeks. But the Greeks made the critical error of not putting in the rescue party. They had been so excited and distracted by their new invention of phyllo crust.

Odysseus through a heroic act of bravery disguised himself as a Trojan, got himself into the city, and found Helen. She was a bundle of irritation about her father, Paris, who didn’t meet expectations, and now she got personal about Odysseus’s appearance. Odysseus beat a hasty retreat. She was better off where she was. The Greeks packed up and went home.

Paris learned his lesson that looks aren’t everything.