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4/2/07 1:45 PM

dylan roscover | ap lang 3rd | 2 mar 2007

Essay on Helen of Troy

It becomes apparent at first glance that these poems look nothing alike. Though both poets speak of Helen of Troy, Poe begins his first line comparing her beauty with a "perfumed sea," whilst Doolittle engages his first in Greece's stunning hatrid toward her. From the beginning to the end of each, between glory and ill, "Holy-land" and "funeral cypresses," Poe composes an

unexpectedly pleasant point of view, while Doolittle views this beauty, Helen, in

a far more mecobre light. The most noticeable distinction between these pieces is of course diction. Poe chooses lengthy, drawn-out natural nouns to describe Helen, comparing her

to exotic shores, flower-like hair, and fresh air. he spares no expense in painting

a picture of pleasantness and tranquility, inviting the reader to come along and experience this brilliant beauty. just as Helen has "brought (him) home to the glory (of) Greece and the grandeur (of) Rome." Doolittle, on the other hand, seemingly presents a warning message to the reader, as if implying "beware of

this mass deception." With words of great subtlty, Doolittle tip-toes across his language, observing how though Helen may be "God's daughter" with "cool feet" and "slender" knees," she'd be better off dead. This builds great suspense and awe in the reader's eyes: unlike Poe, who just expounds what's on his mind, Doolittle reserves himself till the end to unleash his full hatred for the beauty. Even Poe begins his piece openly and "

directly: "Helen, thy

once using her name in his poem. Furthermore, Poe is very proper and considerate of his subject, indenting his pretty lines all neatly and even addressing the title of his poem, "To Helen," quite unlike Doolittle, who seems too caught up in contempt to care about any of that petty, insignificant rubbish.

Doolittle instead hints at "eyes in the white face," never