There are 2 distinct and very different view of Helen of Troy in these 2 poems. Poe reveres Helen and compliments her on her timeless beauty and gracefulness while H.D. expresses the hate she has received from the citizens of Greece for her betrayal to them. The speakers’ view of Helen can be contrasted through their use of tone, imagery, and diction.
The tone in Poe’s poem is elation and gratification towards Helen of Troy, however, H.D.’s tone throughout his poem is melancholy and gloomy. “Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, thy naiad airs have brought me home to the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome.” This excerpt from Poe’s poem supports my claim of Poe’s fondness of Helen. “All Greece hates the still eyes in the white face, the lustre as of olives where she stands, and the white hands.” This excerpt from H.D’s poem supports my claim of his dark and gloomy tone when referencing Helen.
The imagery in the poems is flabbergasting because of the speakers’ abilities to describe their feelings of Helen of Troy. “Helen, thy beauty is to me like those nicean barks of yore that gently, o’er a perfumed sea, the weary, way-worn wanderer bore to his own native shore.” This excerpt from Poe’s poem represents his stunning, positive imagery of Helen of Troy. “Greece sees unmoved God’s daughter, born of love, the beauty of cool feet and slenderest knees, could love indeed the maid, only if she were laid, white ash amid funeral cypresses.” This excerpt from H.D.’s poem represents his magical, negative view of Helen of Troy.
The diction that the speakers’ uses are not completely different but it is noticeable to capture their differences. “Lo, in yon brilliant window-niche how statue-like I see thee stand, the agate lamp within thy hand.” This excerpt from Poe’s poem shows that he used old English when describing Helen. “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.” This excerpt from H.D.’s poem shows that he used a more formal and up-to-date use of the English language.
The speakers’ view of Helen can be contrasted through their use of tone, imagery, and diction. Poe’s tone and H.D.’s tone of Helen of Troy differ greatly because Poe has a more reverence to Helen when mentioning her in the poem, while H.D.’s tone is more melancholy when speaking of her. The imagery in both poems is breathtaking; however, they are significantly different because Poe has a more positive description when describing Helen than H.D. The diction in Poe’s poem of Helen uses old English, while H.D.’s poem uses more modern English. Overall, the main difference is that Poe has a positive view of Helen while H.D. has a more negative view of her.