The Iliad

Pdf fan dd71f526917d6085d66d045bd94fb5b55d02a108dd45d836cbdd4abe2d4c043d Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Paris Character Analysis

Trojan prince, son of Priam and brother of Hector. Cowardly but successful with women, before the events of the Iliad Paris was asked to judge whether Hera, Athena, or Aphrodite was the most beautiful. He chose Aphrodite and, as a reward, she helped him to steal Helen from Menelaus, beginning the Trojan War.

Paris Quotes in The Iliad

The The Iliad quotes below are all either spoken by Paris or refer to Paris. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of The Iliad published in 1998.
Book 3 Quotes

Maddening one, my Goddess, oh what now?...
Well, go to him yourself—you hover beside him!
Abandon the gods’ high road and become a mortal!...
suffer for Paris, protect Paris, for eternity . . .
until he makes you his wedded wife—that or his slave.

Related Characters: Helen (speaker), Aphrodite, Paris
Page Number: 3.460-474
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Helen--the beautiful woman for whom the Trojan War was fought--looks down from the walls of Troy at the battle taking place between Menelaus and Paris: respectively, her Achaean husband and the Trojan prince who kidnapped her. As Helen watches the two men fight for "ownership" of her, Helen sees that Paris is losing, but that the gods won't let him die--he is the favorite of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Helen ruefully notes that Aphrodite is Paris's protector, and as long as she "debases" herself by coming to earth and saving him, she might as well become his slave, too.

Helen's speech suggests how she sees herself. Helen passively watches the men fight for her--she has no real agency of her own during the war. The best Helen can do is observe and comment on the action. Thus, she's insightful enough to make a comparison between Aphrodite and herself: the word "slave" suggests that Helen sees herself as the helpless captive of Paris (Paris has, after all, abducted Helen from her homeland).

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other The Iliad quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Get the entire The Iliad LitChart as a printable PDF.
The iliad.pdf.medium

Paris Character Timeline in The Iliad

The timeline below shows where the character Paris appears in The Iliad. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 3
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
The Gods Theme Icon
Wartime Versus Peacetime Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...each other on the battlefield, the Trojans with war cries and the Achaeans in silence. Paris appears at the front of the Trojan force, challenging Achaeans to fight him one on... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Paris tries to save face from Hector’s criticism by offering to fight Menelaus in single combat... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
The Gods Theme Icon
Wartime Versus Peacetime Theme Icon
...the duel “limited vengeance” and noting the heavy casualties brought on by his quarrel with Paris over Helen, but ultimately accepts the challenge. He asks for a sacrifice to be made... (full context)
The Gods Theme Icon
Wartime Versus Peacetime Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...of Hector’s sister Laodice, flies to Helen and informs her of the coming duel between Paris and Menelaus: “the man who wins the duel, / you’ll be called his wife!”. Helen... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
The ground for the duel is measured off, and the two champions cast lots. Paris’ lot falls out of the helmet, meaning he will throw his spear first. Paris straps... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
The Gods Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
Menelaus, furious at his weapons’ failure, grabs Paris by the crest of his helmet and begins to drag him away to the Achaean... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
The Gods Theme Icon
Fate and Free Will Theme Icon
Wartime Versus Peacetime Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...Helen, and taking the appearance of Helen’s beloved seamstress from Lacedaemon, summons her to join Paris in his bedroom. Helen resists, suggesting that Aphrodite has transported her before against her will,... (full context)
Book 4
The Gods Theme Icon
Fate and Free Will Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
...Zeus begins to taunt Hera, mocking her and Athena for standing by while Aphrodite rescues Paris. He notes that Menelaus is the victor, and that he should now lead Helen home.... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
The Gods Theme Icon
Fate and Free Will Theme Icon
...the archer Pandarus to shoot an arrow at Menelaus, promising him fame and gifts from Paris. (full context)
Book 6
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
Wartime Versus Peacetime Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Hector comes across Paris in his chambers, polishing his armor. Hector and Helen berate Paris for shirking the battlefield.... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
Fate and Free Will Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
...begin to mourn Hector, convinced that he will never return from battle with the Achaeans. Paris joins Hector as they run back into battle. Hector scolds Paris, calling him a good... (full context)
Book 7
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
The Gods Theme Icon
Hector and Paris sweep back into battle, and each kills an Achaean. Athena notices the Trojan surge and... (full context)
Wartime Versus Peacetime Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...has come to give back Helen and her treasure in order to end the war. Paris refuses to give up Helen, but offers to return to the treasure that he took... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
A Trojan emissary goes to the Achaean ships and offers Paris’ treasure for peace. The Achaeans reject the Trojan offer immediately, but agree to a temporary... (full context)
Book 11
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
As Diomedes is stripping the armor from a Trojan conquest, Paris shoots him in the foot with an arrow. Cursing Paris, Diomedes mounts his chariot and... (full context)
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
Mortality Theme Icon
Hector continues his onslaught, pushing the Achaeans back. The healer Machaon is wounded by Paris, causing distress among the Achaeans. Nestor carries Machaon back to the Achaean camp in his... (full context)
Book 13
Honor and Glory Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...battle to find that many of his commanders have been killed or wounded. Hector finds Paris and asks him where Deiphobus and others have gone. Paris answers him and tells Hector... (full context)
Book 24
The Gods Theme Icon
Fate and Free Will Theme Icon
...not allow it because of her hate of all Trojans resulting from the Judgment of Paris, when Paris favored Aphrodite's beauty over that of Athena and Hera, eventually leading to the... (full context)