To Helen Helen Draft Essay examples

Submitted By Jennifer-Molder
Words: 868
Pages: 4

In the poem To Helen, Edgar Allen Poe writes from the point of view of a sailor who is sent to save the beautiful Helen after she is abducted. Hilda Doolittle writes the poem Helen from the point of view of the women who are left behind while their men are saving a woman who caused a war. Both authors express the feelings of their respective genders toward Helen, whether it be loving or hateful. Helen of Troy was known for her beauty, so when she was abducted, the Greek men would have done anything to save her. Poe, being a man, is writing from the perspective of the men who are mesmerized by Helen’s immaculate beauty. The men risked their lives to save a woman who had caused a war and had not considered the women they had left behind. As a woman, Doolittle writes from the perspective of those women who were heart broken when their men went off to fight the war Helen had caused. Poe described Helen in such a fashion to make her seem as if she were their saving grace, her “beauty” was so “brilliant” to them that going to fight this war was something they wanted to do rather than what they had to do. Coming to Helen’s rescue might save their country, but it might also ruin their relationships at home. Doolittle essentially described Helen as a home wrecker because, “All Greece hates” her and “reviles…when she smiles.” The women are jealous that their men have gone off to save a woman who, to them, is not as beautiful as tales have made her out to be. The women are convinced that, without Helen, they would have their men in the safety of their homes. To the men, Helen is this beautiful woman whom they all love; to the women, she is the center of all hate and is the reason for the war that called for their men. Although Helen’s beauty caused a war, the tone of Poe’s poem was more formal like that of a love letter whereas Doolittle’s poem was informal and to the point. The formal tone of Poe’s poem creates the sense of a love letter without directly expressing those feelings while Doolittle’s is short and to the point, expressing her hatred toward Helen as blunt as she could be. Poe extends the admiring tone throughout the poem using the image of the “Nicean barks of yore” to compare Helen’s beauty to their saving grace. While the men are out at sea, they look to her to bring them home and to keep them safe, giving them yet another reason to love her. Her beauty being the men’s saving grace also gives the women another reason to hate Helen. Doolittle creates an image of Helen that is not as appealing as one might imagine; the tone of hatred is connected in the first two stanzas with the image of Helen’s “white” complexion that makes “all Greece revile the wan face when she smiles.” These women do not understand why their men would parade off to save a woman who is not as beautiful as she is said to be and are jealous of the overrated attention she is getting and have seeded their hate deep within the very thought of her. Helen’s beauty is captured in Poe’s