Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Molly Pasco-Pranger

Relational Format



The purpose of this research is to explore the use of Helen of Troy spanning literature from Homer to the modern Starcrossed series by Josephine Angelini, and to discuss how Helen's agency is both stripped from her and granted to her through the use of desire, death, and the connotations associated with her face and name. Specifically, the differences between ancient works and Angelini's novels in how these three categories are treated concerning Helen are used to show how a Helen with very similar characteristics to those Helens in ancient literature, who generally possess little or no agency, can go from being an object and a scapegoat to being a heroine. Ultimately, the research discusses the idea that, while the Helen of antiquity could not be at once blameless, willing, and rational in her involvement in the Trojan War, a modern interpretation of Helen possesses all three of these traits, and displays compassion, bravery, and self-sacrifice as a result of the agency that is granted to her in this modern, young adult series.

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