If you were Paris, whose bribe would you choose? Athena? Aphrodite? Or Hera?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Answers will vary for this opinion-based question. It is important to provide reasons to back up and explain your answer.

Zeus is reluctant to bestow the golden apple. He says Paris, a Trojan mortal, would decide who is the fairest, because Paris had recently displayed fair judgment in a bull contest with Ares. Paris must choose between Athena, Aphrodite, or Hera.

Let's look at the options.

Hera is Queen of the Gods and Goddess of Marriage and Birth. She bribes Paris with Europe and Asia; he could rule over both continents. This is an enticing bribe if you have dreams of being a King or a leader. However, being a ruler comes with many responsibilities, especially if you are looking over such large sections of land with many different people. If you are interested in this bribe, you should also think about what that means and what the consequences are.

Athena is Goddess of Wisdom and War, and she offers a bribe of skill in war. This is an enticing bribe for someone who longs to be a warrior, or someone who anticipates being in a situation where they will need wisdom and skill in war. If you do not plan on being in fights, then this bribe would go to waste and would not make sense to accept. If you are interested, you might want to ask clarifying questions. Does this skill mean you will be unstoppable in war, or are you still at risk of being injured or killed in a fight? You should consider the extent of this gift before accepting it.

Aphrodite is the Goddess of Love and Beauty and appropriately bribes Paris with the most beautiful woman in the world. I think this bribe is interesting because Paris does not get to choose the woman; Aphrodite just knows who the most beautiful woman is. Furthermore, beauty is only one quality. Without knowing who the woman is, how do we know what her other qualities are? Is she caring and kind? Another potential complication is, does the bribe include the woman falling in love with Paris (or us, as the hypothetical receiver)? This is the bribe Paris accepts, and he receives Helen of Troy, who is already married to the Spartan King Menelaus. There are conflicting accounts on what Helen's initial reaction is. This is not something I would choose if there is no guarantee I would be loved in return. Also, this choice ultimately leads to the Trojan War, so in hindsight, maybe it was not the best choice for Paris.

When considering which you would choose, you should consider what bribe would personally serve you best and what the consequences of each choice are.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This question deals with the myth of the Judgement of Paris. Zeus, the king of the gods, had a banquet. But he neglected to invite Eris, the goddess of discord. In retaliation, Eris creates a golden apple and says it should be given to the most beautiful goddess. 

Three goddesses believe they have the right to own the apple. They are Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, and Hera, the goddess of marriage. They ask Zeus to judge between them but he refuses. Instead he assigns the task to Paris, a man who lives in Troy. 

Each of the goddesses offers Paris a gift if he gives them the apple. Athena offers him wisdom and skill in battle. Hera offers him Europe and Asia. Aphrodite offers him the most beautiful woman in the world. 

In the myth, Paris accepts Aphrodite's gift. She gives him Helen of Troy, who was already married. Helen's refusal to return to her husband led to the start of the Trojan War. So Paris may not have made the best decision. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial