What might Helen be suggesting about her marriage in Od. 4.263 sq.?
Original Question: Helen tells a story to Menelaus and his guests (4. 263-296). What strikes you as strange? What might Helen be suggesting about her marriage?
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I don’t see anything particularly strange in this passage. Helen seems to be suggesting that she aided Odysseus while she was in Troy because she regretted run away with Paris and missed her home and family. She blames the goddess Aphrodite for compelling her to go with Paris, making love (or lust, as Paris was the handsomest of all men) blind her to her duty to her husband. She describes in some detail how she understood and admired the strategy of Odysseus (who was helping her husband Menelaus), and did what she could to help him. Menelaus, who is sitting nearby, would approve of Helen longing for him while she was in Troy.
The figure of litotes is used to suggest Helen consider Menelaus handsome and wise.