THE STORY: (38 minutes) This episode has it all! A kinky story about an amorous swan, a disturbing story about a butchered horse, a cautionary story about a foolish husband, and a too-familiar story about a corrupt politician. And in the midst of all the stories, well, Helen of Sparta moves to Troy.
THE COMMENTARY: HELEN OF TROY – DAMSEL IN DISTRESS or FEMME FATALE? (12 minutes; begins at 38:00) Helen of Troy is one of the most complex and enigmatic characters in all of fiction (or in all of fact – which just adds to the complexity!). As you know, Helen left her life in Sparta to travel to the city of Troy with Paris. But what caused Helen to leave? Well, that continues to be the subject of considerable debate. In this episode of post-story commentary I review five conflicting “takes” on Helen’s motivations. I note that each culture down through the ages has ascribed to Helen motivations which are deeply reflective of that particular culture’s attitudes towards women, the family, and sexuality. And I caution that each culture tends to create an explanation for Helen’s actions that the culture “needs to hear”. The five “takes” on Helen that I discuss include: Helen the Homewrecker; Helen the Damsel in Distress; Helen the Femme Fatale; Helen the Proto-Feminist; and Helen: Pawn of the Gods. I make a case for each, then share with you the version of Helen I personally find most compelling. And I invite you to disagree with me! Have fun! And let us know what you think… Jeff