Essay Title: 

poem: `Helen` by H.D.

March 30, 2016 | Author: | Posted in antique literature, literature and language

All Greece reviles

the wan face when she smiles

hating it deeper still

when it grows wan and white

remembering past enchantments

and past ills (lines 6-11

Perhaps she is smiling as a form of mockery or even rebellion . The reader must interpret this for herself , but the reaction from Greece is apparent – it is part of their hatred of her . The reader must decipher of which reaction it speaks . The Greek people obviously remember these ills ‘ and enchantments ‘ with hatred , but the stanza seems to suggest that they [banner_entry_middle]

are the reason that Helen smiles

Therefore , Helen ‘s mysterious smile could be the result of her memory of Paris . Whichever interpretation is chosen , the Greek response is only negative . It is unmoved ‘ outwardly by the smile . Helen , too appears unmoved by their hate

The third and final stanza reflects on love which is set up as a contradiction to the hatred that Greece feels . The speaker acknowledges that Helen is

God ‘s daughter , born of love (line 13

It seems almost sacrilegious to hate the daughter of their highest God However , the final lines of the poem show Greece ‘s angry disregard for this idea . They

could love indeed the maid

only if she were laid

white ash amid funeral cypresses (lines 16-18

These words seem to tease the reader with the idea that they could love and in doing so forgive , Helen . The spin comes after that they could only love her dead . In this last stanza , white no longer refers to beauty , but to death . To them , Helen will be beautiful in death only Ironically , because of the very things that makes Greece hate her so Helen has now become immortalized in the lines of poetry and mythology so many centuries later . Unknowingly , their hatred has further established… [banner_entry_footer]

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