could love indeed the maid, only if she were laid, white ash amid funereal cypresses. (16-18)
We can't lie: the end of the poem breaks our Shmoopy little hearts. The only way that Greece will be able to love Helen again is if she's dead. Dead! Statuesque and cool isn't enough; the Greeks want her cremated head on a platter, so to speak. They want to destroy beauty completely, as if to erase Helen's entire legacy. We can't help but be on Helen's side here, and to totally question Helen's role in the war. Can we really blame one human being for a war? Is Helen's beauty really to blame? We're thinking not so much.