Helen of Troy has always been looked upon as the prototype of classic beauty. Known as “the face that launched a thousand ships”, Helen was known as the most beautiful woman in the world in Greek legend. These poems present a contrasting yet fascinating manner in which two people view this woman. The two poems depict a different side of Helen that is shown through the use of imagery, diction, and structure; Poe’s being a more positive beauty of Helen, and Doolittle’s being a hateful and blameful tone toward Helen.
One is able to grasp a clear picture in each poem of how Helen is viewed through the evident imagery in each piece. Poe tells of Helen’s, “hyacinth hair, classic face” when he mentions her and almost makes her seem angelic. To him, she is an important figure as he says, “how statue – like I see thee stand” and it is evident
Doolittle, on the other hand, feels dissimilar as she says, "All Greece hates the still eyes in the white face" and represents Helen to be, "the beauty of cool feet and slenderest knees". Therefore, he may have been trying to represent this by making his poem one of a kind as well. Beauty and evil are distinctly the two main oppositions in each of these poems, and throughout the use of imagery, diction, and structure, one can see how they differ even more. In the second poem the word "white" is used four times and the use of the "w" itself is seen throughout the piece. In this poem, Helen"tms role in Greece is more important to the author than her beauty, as Greece is mentioned more than her looks, whereas her beauty if the main theme in the other piece. Alliteration is used expansively throughout Poe"tms piece with, "weary, way - worn wanderer", "hyacinth hair", and "glory that was Greece, and he grandeur that was Rome". Poe makes Helen seem almost too beautiful and so perfect that she may even be unobtainable. Doolittle proposes that, "when she smiles, hating it deeper still" still showing her intense hatred for Helen. ------------------------------------------------------------------------Bibliography. "Remembering past enchantments and past ills" is remarking that before she even came to Greece they were better than they were then. The strong diction and comparisons in each piece show an intense depiction of what each author feels about Helen. Poe does not have a set structure to his poem, which perhaps suggests his feelings of Helen, as in his mind she is one of a kind. Poe states, "they beauty is to me like those Nicean barks of yore" suggesting that she made Greece appear grand and stunningly wonderful with her beauty and brilliance. Clearly Doolittle"tms poem suggests a harsh and blunt arrangement, much different from Poe"tms sense of likeness for Helen.