Study Guide

The Judgment of Paris Setting

Setting

A Divine Wedding, Mt. Ida, Sparta, Troy

A Divine Wedding

We start off at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, though we're not told where exactly this took place. Mt. Olympus? Some nice beach somewhere? Wherever it was, we're guessing it was pretty plush, considering the fact that the guest list was made of all the gods. Well, all the gods except Eris, goddess of strife, who stirs up trouble by throwing the golden apple with "to the fairest" written on it. It's interesting that Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite start arguing over who's the most beautiful at such a beautiful event. It's like Eris has taken the key aspect of the setting and turned it against itself.

Mt. Ida

After the wedding, we zoom down to Mt. Ida where Paris is tending his flock. Note the contrast here. We've gone from a totally divine wedding to the total opposite. Instead of hanging out at a super classy affair, we're in the country, a place full of grass, sheep, fresh mountain air, and sheep poop (which may have an effect on that fresh mountain air). It's a little ironic that the three goddesses would come to such a super earthy place to have their divine beauty judged.

Sparta

After Paris judges Aphrodite to be the most beautiful, he heads off to Sparta to claim his prize and steal Queen Helen from King Menelaus. If you know anything about Sparta and Spartans in general (which Paris definitely would have) then you know how bold a move this is. Come on, you saw the movie 300, right? If not, check out this trailer on IMDB. It's like that. Basically, Sparta was known for being super militaristic and even kind of harsh. Basically, the folks there were majorly hardcore, so it definitely took a lot of nerve for pretty boy Paris to traipse through the gates and nab the queen.

Troy

The story ends in the city of Troy, which legend says was located on the coast of modern-day Turkey. To the Greeks this place would've seemed like a distant foreign land. No doubt part of what enticed Helen away from Sparta was the thought of leaving her harsh city and brutish husband for an adventure with a handsome foreigner in his exotic homeland. Unfortunately for Troy, Paris and Helen doom the place. By the end of the Trojan War, the love of Paris and Helen has reduced the majestic city to rubble.