This chapter turns to a comparison of the myth of Helen with “Abduction” as defined in Chapter 1. It reconstructs the myth by outlining the stages of Helen's life—her birth, her childhood, and so forth—and of episodes, which contain scenes of relatively independent actions, such as her abduction. Besides the events of Helen's life, the chapter also discusses the men most closely connected to her story, above all Menelaus and Paris. In addition, this chapter takes account of variants, recording and discussing them as they bear on the outline of Helen's life story. For this purpose, the chapter is guided by the principle that what is latest in the history of the sources may be earliest in the history of the myth.
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