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'Menelaus and Helen', a poem composed of two contrasting sections about the difference between fact and fable, was written by Rupert Brooke in 1909.

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'Menelaus and Helen' by Rupert Brooke 'Menelaus and Helen', a poem composed of two contrasting sections about the difference between fact and fable, was written by Rupert Brooke in 1909. The first section of the poem is somewhat mythical in the way that it describes the honored fairytale scene in which a valiant knight rescues a lovely queen. On the other hand, the poem's more credible second section depicts a crude reality of the knight and queen's life together after old age has caught up with them. The poem in its entirety therefore presents the reader with two opposing viewpoints, thus emphasizing the distinction between an idealistic dream and a much less pleasant truth. Differing words and diction allow the author of 'Menelaus and Helen' to further accentuate this contradictory aspect of the poem. ...read more.


Giving continuation to the first stanza of the poem, the author illustrates Menelaus' anger with ardent words, such as "red" and "flaming". This use of words assists in depicting to the reader a picture of the incensed Menelaus as he heroically makes his way to his Queen's chambers. However, the poem's pace slows down slightly with the word "quieter" together with "and then", allowing for an intake of breath and slight contemplation - perhaps an indication of what is to come. Menelaus is then stopped by the punctuation as he is faced with the door to Helen's chamber. The last two lines of the poem's first stanza are similar to the first and not a trace is left of Menelaus' temporary halt as resolve once again takes over him; the poem's pace is once again quick and presents a sense of urgency. ...read more.


The use of the word "long" makes the alliance appear unbearable and monotonous. The tediousness of the repetitive phrase "Child on legitimate child" further emphasizes this point. The use of the word "white" once again in the third line of the second sonnet is appropriate - the meaning suggested has changed. It is implied that Helen is now white of age and thus the word is used in an unattractive sense rather to insinuate beauty and fairness. The oxymoron "Haggard with virtue" also accentuates the new picture depicted in this second half of the poem. The words used at this point in the poem may be thought of as somewhat rash and prompt. Words such as "scold", "waxed" and "old" also stress the irritation and despondency in the relationship. Just as it began, the poem's third stanza ends promptly, and yet leaves the poem hanging with its conciseness: "And both were old." ...read more.

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