Helen who has always been faithful to her husband Menelaus; who never went to Troy, but was carried off to Egypt, where she remains throughout the Trojan War, waiting faithfully for her husband Menelaus to rescue her. Meanwhile, Helen of Troy - a mere phantom fashioned by the gods - has blighted the real Helen's life with undeserved hatred. Helen plays with this premise in ways that make it by turns amusing and disturbing, playful and full of serious quandaries. The real Helen did not commit the deeds for which she is famous, and yet she cannot escape a reputation based on what the world believes her to be, rather than on what she is. And yet, with the disappearance of the phantom Helen, Menelaus does reclaim his wife at last and the real Helen plots a brilliant deception that will bring them both home again in triumph. Helen is an extraordinary performance that has disturbed critics because it refuses to conform to their expectations. Whether understood as a tragedy or something more like aphilisophical divertissement or romantic comedy, Helen has increasingly been recognized as an intellectually challenging and emotionally satisfying dramatic masterpiece. Greek text with facing translation
this is a fine and timely presentation of a play whose rich complexity is increasingly recognised.'