Bernice L. Fox Writing Contest Winner -2005-

Closing Remarks of the Defense
New York City v. Helen of Sparta

Amanda Galloway
Midlothian High School
401 Charter Colony Parkway
Midlothian, VA  23114
Teacher: Mrs. Sue Robertson

            Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we come here today not to relive the horror of the Trojan War, or to mourn the losses of the immortal heroes, Achilles and Hector, but to decide whether Helen, wife of Menelaus of Sparta, is guilty of causing this unforgettable slaughter.  Certainly, you cannot believe that a woman, abducted from her home and husband, would intentionally and maliciously destroy her fellow Greeks.  You are aware of the dishonesty of her captor, Paris of Troy, as he took advantage of Menelausí hospitality and accepted bribes in the infamous judging of the most beautiful woman in the world.  Additionally, how can you look past the three contestants in the beauty contest, Venus, Juno, and Minerva, as all three played a significant role in the judgment of Paris, and therefore the abduction of Helen?  I urge you to look past the victim, and see who is truly responsible for this notorious crime.

            You are well aware of the long-standing power struggle between the Greeks and the Trojans, the infamous gangs of New York City, as the Trojans have slowly gained power and prestige over the Greeks.  Therefore, it was only a matter of time before the confrontation escalated into war.  The kidnapping of Helen served only to hasten what was imminent.  However if one person is to be blamed for the bloodshed, you should look no further than her captor, Paris of Troy.  It was he who took advantage of Menelausí hospitality when visiting Sparta, stealing his wife along with a large sum of money.  Surely if it was Paris on trial today, he would be found guilty of both crimes. Menelaus and Odysseus, members of the Greeks, asked for the return of Helen before they attacked, and yet Paris declined.  Perhaps Paris used Helen merely as an excuse to fight his rival, the only real threat to Trojan supremacy.  Yet you have heard the prosecution state repeatedly that Helen was taken willingly to Troy, and that both she and Paris wanted the Greeks to be defeated.  However, once Helen returned to Menelaus after the war, she was treated with kindness and respect, like a woman having suffered from kidnapping, not an elopement.  Therefore, Paris is solely responsible for Helenís abduction, and thus the Trojan War.

            Nevertheless, if you will refer to the contest between the three most beautiful women, Venus, Juno and Minerva, you can see that Paris may have been provoked in his kidnapping of Helen.  When Paris was chosen to judge a beauty contest between the three women, all offered him bribes in return for his vote.  Venus guaranteed Paris that in return for his vote, he would have Helen of Sparta, renowned for her beauty, as his wife. Although Helenís people were his enemy, the naÔve Paris believed Venus would keep her promise and he would soon be husband to the most beautiful woman in the world.  Obviously, you can see how Paris was tricked into his decision, and Venus can ultimately be held responsible for the war.

            Yet, there is a man principally responsible, who demonstrated undo influence over on both Venus and Paris.  You have seen evidence that Zeus, the man originally chosen to judge the beauty contest, wished to destroy both gangs and bring fame to his daughter, Helen, and therefore purposely caused the war.  The cunning Zeus realized that by choosing one of the three women as the most beautiful, he would earn the undying hatred of the other two beauties. He therefore relinquished his duties to Paris, knowing that he was seeking a beautiful wife, and thereby setting him up for his demise.

            It should now be evident that several people can be held responsible for this war.  The wrong person is on trial for this crime, as Helen was merely the victim of the dealings of Paris, Venus and Zeus.  Perhaps the blame cannot be placed on one person, as the war was caused by a combination of the three.  Your only choice is to find my client not guilty