Though the Iliad made mention of extreme bravery; it also covers the opposite end of the scale: cowardliness. Paris, depicted at first as woman crazed, sex obsessed, and egotistic (he never leaves these descriptions), was also viewed as a coward as early as Book III. Paris, who fought bravely towards the end of the war, is a misunderstood Trojan who just wanted to have fun. Paris was first depicted as a coward when he belted out orders to the troops while he was safe inside the walls of the city. Paris brother, Hector, told him: “Paris, appalling Paris!
Our prince of beauty-mad for woman, you lure them all to ruin. ” (Book III) Women are not the only ones drawn to ruin by Paris. The whole Trojan army, not to mention the whole city of Troy, was endangered by Paris selfishness. Paris is very likely the cause of the Trojan War. His story was told by prophecies before he was born: The prophecies said that he would be the cause of the destruction of Troy. His parents, Priam and Hecuba, left him to die on a mountain when he was a baby, but he was rescued and returned to Troy as a young man.
Paris abducted prince Menelaos (of Mycenae) wife, Helen, who was said to be the most beautiful woman on earth. Helen was a prize to Paris from Aphrodite because Paris picked this goddess the “fairest” of all goddesses. Menelaos would not give up Helen without a fight. But when Paris heres the threat of Menelaos, to fight a duel to find out who will take possession of Helen, Paris acts like a coward at first, suddenly overcome by fear. Paris hides among his fellow Trojans to escape his fate. … He cringed from death as one who trips on a snake in hilltop hollow recoils, suddenly trembling grips his knees and pallor, takes his cheeks and back he shrinks. ” Hector insults Paris in front of all of Troy. Paris is deeply ashamed and decides to fight the duel. Troy rejoices because if Paris defeats Menelaos, it would be a tremendous victory for Troy, however, if Paris is defeated, Helen is returned and therefore a truce would be reached and the war would be over.
Like Achilles, the hero of the Iliad, Paris has a goddess on his side. When face to face with Menelaos, Paris is injured and captured by the Aceans. However, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, intervenes and rescues her favorite warrior. Though the match was fairly won by Menelaos, Helen should have been returned to her husband. However, Paris had his own plan. Aphrodite had brought Helen back to Paris, and Paris ignored the pleas of Menelaos and Troy to return her. Book seven gives a contradictory look at Paris.
Homer has Paris side by side his great warrior brother, Hector. In Books X and XI, Paris is on the battlefield the whole time picking off soldier after soldier. “Vaunting, a flash in arms, Hector swept through the gates with his brother Paris, keeping pace beside him. ” What was known as a cowardly prince, fought bravery, and for what? Time after time Paris says “the fight for Helen”, was it love? Or merely a contest of prizes? However one looks at it, there is no doubt Paris was the one, in the end, to cause the destruction of Troy.