Study Guide

Helen

  • Profile

    Ah, Helen. The most beautiful woman ever to walk the face of the earth. All it took was a flick of her eyes and a flip of her hair to make guys go completely and totally crazy for her. Though most of the time she's called Helen of Troy, she was actually from the Greek city of Sparta and was the daughter of Zeus, King of the Gods, and Leda, the wife of Tyndareas, King of Sparta. And how's this for an origin story? Since Zeus seduced Leda while in the form of a swan, it's said that Helen hatched out of an egg.

    Back to the "of Troy" thing. That started after she was taken away from Sparta by Paris, a handsome Trojan prince. Just one problem: she was already married to a guy named Menelaus, who didn't take too kindly to his wife's Trojan fling. To answer the insult, Menelaus gathered the biggest army of Greeks ever assembled, sailed across the sea to Troy, and ignited the legendary Trojan War. The jury is out on whether Helen went willingly with Paris, or if she was forced to go against her will. But no matter which way you look at it, Helen definitely earned her reputation as "the face that launched a thousand ships." You go girl.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Helen

    Nickname

    Helen of Troy, Helen of Sparta, The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships, Trouble

    Sex

    Female (and how)

    Current city

    Elysium

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Being totally gorge

    Education

    Who needs it with looks like these?

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Ugh.

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Zeus (well, Swan-Zeus) and Leda

    Children

    Hermione (not Ron's), Aethiolas, Maraphius, Pleisthenes, Nicostratus (maybe)

    Friends

    King Priam of Troy was pretty nice, I guess

    Enemies

    All the Trojans hated me
    Um, the Greeks didn't like me very much either

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Married to Menelaus, Major fling with Paris

    Favorites

    Quotations

    "You're beautiful. You're beautiful.
    You're beautiful, it's true.
    I saw your face in a crowded place,
    And I don't know what to do,
    'Cause I'll never be with you."
    – James Blunt

    "Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense."
    – Mark Overby

    "Pretty woman, walking down the street.
    Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet.
    Pretty woman…
    I don't believe you, you're not the truth.
    No one could look as good as you.
    Mercy."
    – Roy Orbison

    "If you haven't cried, your eyes can't be beautiful."
    – Sophia Loren

    Books

    The Iliad by Homer
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
    Leda and the Swan by William Butler Yeats
    A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams
    Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
    An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larson
    Twilight by Stephenie Myer

    Music

    We Found Love (ft. Calvin Harris) by Rihanna
    The One That Got Away by Katy Perry
    Someone Like You by Adele
    Sparks Fly by Taylor Swift
    You Da One by Rihanna
    You're Beautiful by James Blunt
    Rainbow Connection (ft. Hayley Williams) covered by Weezer – Muppet Green Album
    The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson

    Movies

    Troy
    The Princess Bride
    Pretty Woman
    Bridesmaids
    Sex and the City
    American Beauty
    Love, Actually
    The End of the Affair
    Helen of Troy (P.S. I'm way prettier than that actress)

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Mani/pedis
    Shampoo
    Fake eyelashes
    Fashion Week
    E!
    Valentine's Day

    Interests

    Cosmetology
    Botany
    Epic poetry
    Romance

    Groups

    Rihanna Fan Club
    Selflovers
    Supermodels
    Heidi Klum (only to prove I'm prettier)

    • Spotter's Guide

      You're not the only one to come around here looking for Helen. But you won't find her up here on Olympus. If you want to gaze on the most beautiful woman that ever lived, you'll have to head down to the Underworld. She and her husband, Menelaus, live with the other blessed souls in Elysium. Here's a hint: if you do manage to make it down there, do not under any circumstances call her "Helen of Troy" around Menelaus. Even though it was a really long time ago, he's still got his boxers in a bundle over the time she ran off with that Trojan Prince Paris. Seriously, watch what you say around him. He started the Trojan War because of that little incident, and we're guessing he's not afraid to start another one if someone says the wrong thing around Helen. There's no doubt that Helen is drop dead gorgeous, but her beauty has made a lot of men do just that—drop dead.

      Sex: Female (you know it)
      Age: Forever Young
      Build: Perfect
      Complexion: Perfect
      Hair Color: Perfect
      Facial Hair: Gross
      Scars/marks/tattoos: Not a chance
      Jewelry and accessories: As much as possible
      Clothing: Beautiful Robes
      Armor: Ha!
      Type of Weapon: Staggering beauty

      Typical Companions:

      Paris (during my Trojan years)
      Menelaus

      Known Hangouts:

      Sparta
      Troy
      Elysium
      Beauty Parlors

    • Sightings

      Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Iliad by Homer

      Helen is the whole reason for the war in Homer's famous epic poem. They weren't kidding about that whole face-that-launched-a-thousand-ships thing.

      Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 0599

      The Odyssey by Homer

      Odysseus' son Telemachus has a lovely dinner with Helen in Homer's other super-famous poem.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Trojan Women by Euripides

      In this tragedy that takes place after Greeks have won, Menelaus shows up to reclaim his wife—and to have her executed.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Helen by Euripides

      According to this play, the Helen that went to Troy was a phantom: the real Helen was spirited away to Egypt by Athena and Hera. Well, then.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Inferno by Dante

      In Dante's masterpiece, the lusty Helen is said to be trapped in the second circle of Hell.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

      The sexiest of them all leads to a pretty famous speech by the Doctor in Marlowe's play.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Faust: Part Two by Goethe

      The man who sold his soul to the Devil falls madly in love with the ghost of Helen in Goethe's take on it.

      Dec 20, 2019

      "No Second Troy" by William Butler Yeats

      In this already-Shmooped poem Yeats compares his lover to the alluring and troublesome Helen of Troy.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Helen of Troy

      The most beautiful woman ever is played by Rossana Podesta in this film. Imagine landing that role.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Helen of Troy

      What do you think, does Sienna Guillory do her justice? Either way, she has a movie named after her, which is pretty awesome.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Troy

      Diane Kruger plays Helen opposite Orlando Bloom's Paris in this Hollywood blockbuster. Talk about a smokin' hot pair.