“You ask me why, if she did not want this war, she has not given herself up to Menelaus since,” Polypoetes said, “but perhaps the question you should ask instead is why has Menelaus not given up Helen? Why, knowing where it might lead, did he insist upon marrying her to begin with? When she had made it clear she did not want him or the future that would follow. When she went so far as to arrange her own abduction, barely more than a child at the time, to escape his claim upon her body, her beauty, her life? This war was not caused by Helen, even if she escaped Sparta with Paris of her own free will—which Helen’s own brothers denied. It was caused by Menelaus, when he would not accept her refusal. Not as a girl, or as a woman, or as his wife. He could have ended this war long before it ever started and saved us all so much pain and suffering.”
--A Broken Horse
|Alexandre Jacovleff's Trojan Horse, via Wiki Commons
I think we all know why as a society we focus on a mythic hero falling in love as the bigger problem, though. Why that's the thing we need to expunge from the record, above all, by pushing to make sure those relationships are more "realistically" portrayed primarily as violence and assault, in our so modern and enlightened age. We are INVESTED in the idea that these heroes never looked at women as anything but objects, never saw value in them as people beyond the child they might provide. And we've been invested in that idea for a VERY long time.
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