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Helen of Troy – Margaret George

April 12, 2013
Cover of Helen of Troy

Cover of Helen of Troy

I thought it time to take a short break from the Academic to consider a little fantasy in the form of Greek Myths retold in literature.

Helen of Troy by Margaret George is a fantastic example of how myth can be recounted successfully through literature; captivating the reader from the start. Helen’s story is told from her own perspective beginning with her childhood and taking the reader through the entirety of her life. The Ancient Greek values of honour and pride are represented well by George who demonstrates how these, can all too soon, ignite the very human attributes of passion, anger and desire for revenge.

Although Helen’s entire life is explored, a large part of the novel focuses on the ten years spent at Troy; consideration is given to the causes of the war, the destruction of the city and the behaviour of the conquerors.

George’s writing style is engaging, drawing you into the life of mythologies greatest characters; I certainly could not put it down. However, there is the issue of authorial licence, certain aspects of ‘mythological history’ are re-written to fit the story being told. I do not find these changes inappropriate, they instead provide a different interpretation to the myths that are so well known.

I cannot praise George’s efforts enough for producing such an interesting, entertaining and imaginative portrayal; which I would highly recommend. Having enjoyed Helen of Troy so much I have now started reading Margaret George’s The Memoirs of Cleopatra.

I would be interested to hear other people’s opinions of Helen of Troy, please leave any comments that you have.

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