Helen of Troy is a figure from ancient Greek mythology who is known for her exceptional beauty. She was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, and in many myths, she is considered to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Her abduction by Paris, the prince of Troy, was the event that sparked the Trojan War.
Helen was originally married to Menelaus, the king of Sparta, after he won her hand in a competition. However, when Paris of Troy visited Sparta, he was smitten with Helen. Encouraged by Aphrodite, who had promised him the most beautiful woman in the world as a reward in the Judgment of Paris, he abducted Helen and took her back to Troy. This act was considered a great insult to Menelaus and to the Greeks in general, leading to the Trojan War as the Greeks set out to reclaim Helen and punish Troy.
In some versions of the story, Helen went willingly with Paris, enchanted by his charm, while in others, she was taken against her will. Some accounts even suggest that the gods made an illusionary image of Helen to accompany Paris to Troy, while the real Helen was whisked away to Egypt for the duration of the war.
After the war, Helen returned to Sparta with Menelaus. In some versions of her story, she was welcomed back and lived the rest of her life peacefully, while in others, she was met with suspicion and hostility.
Helen’s story has been the subject of numerous adaptations and reinterpretations throughout history. She is often portrayed as a complex and somewhat tragic figure – a woman whose beauty made her the object of other people’s desires and conflicts, rather than an agent of her own destiny.