If Only

An Essay By Kyleigh // 7/26/2007

War or Peace?

The Trojan War begins when Paris, son of Priam, King of Troy, kidnaps Helen from her husband, Menelaus. Of course, Menelaus is angry because of the kidnapping of Helen, and he and the Greeks march on Troy. However, Menelaus should have thought more carefully before he made his decision, because Paris is at fault, not the Greeks, Helen is Menelaus’ wife in the first place, and both Troy and Greece lose many warriors because of the war. Although he has the right to be angry, Menelaus and Paris should settle the conflict as a personal matter.

First, Troy should not be blamed for Paris’ actions. Paris’ actions cause war, as well as a reprimanding from his older brother, Hektor, who says that it would have been better “…if you had never been born, or killed unwedded.” Hektor continues on to declare that “…there is no strength in your heart, no courage.” If Paris did not kidnap Helen, he would have a better reputation, and not be so looked down upon by readers of The Iliad.

Secondly, Helen was Menelaus’ wife to begin with. Menelaus should have chosen to solve this matter privately, but instead he chooses to rally his countrymen, the Greeks, by explaining that they “…have suffered for the sake of my quarrel since Alexandros [Paris] began it. As for us to whom death and doom are given, let him die…” Only Menelaus is necessary to solve this conflict, not the armies of the Greeks and of the Trojans. As is evident, the anger of Menelaus caused him to fight rather than negotiate with Alexandros.

Third and finally, both the Greeks and the Trojans lose many strong, brave men to this unnecessary war. More than three times in The Iliad, Homer mentions how many men a single man kills, “…and at his side killed twelve companions, all of them great men; our thirteenth man killed was their scout…” If one thinks about how many men were fighting there, one can only imagine how many total warriors died, especially since the Trojan War lasted for ten years. In the end, Troy and all its inhabitants are destroyed.

Menelaus and Paris should have chosen to take care of this matter on their own, considering whose wife Helen was, who had kidnapped her and what the overall outcome of a war would be – death. Since Paris and Menelaus did not decide together, trouble came. If Menelaus and Alexandros chose a peaceful way to settle their dispute, Troy would be spared. If only...