Tsagalis, Christos. 2008. The Oral Palimpsest: Exploring Intertextuality in the Homeric Epics. Hellenic Studies Series 29. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:hul.ebook:CHS_TsagalisC.The_Oral_Palimpsest.2008.
Chapter 6. Viewing from the Walls, Viewing Helen: Language and Indeterminacy in the ‘Teichoscopia’
Genre-Mixing and Formulaic Misuse
Helen’s figurative death
ὡς ὄφελεν // θάνατός μοι ἁδεῖν κακός, // ὁππότε δεῦρο
υἱέϊ σῷ ἑπόμην, θάλαμον γνωτούς τε λιποῦσα
παῖδά τε τηλυγέτην καὶ ὁμηλικίην // ἐρατεινήν.
ἀλλὰ τά γ᾿ οὐκ ἐγένοντο· τὸ καὶ κλαίουσα τέτηκα.
τοῦτο δέ τοι ἐρέω, ὅ μ᾿ ἀνείρεαι ἠδὲ μεταλλᾷς·
οὗτός γ᾿ Ἀτρείδης εὐρὺ κρείων Ἀγαμέμνων,
ἀμφότερον βασιλεύς τ᾿ ἀγαθὸς κρατερός τ᾿ αἰχμητής.
δαὴρ αὖτ᾿ ἐμὸς ἔσκε // κυνώπιδος, εἴ ποτ᾿ ἔην γε.᾿᾿
“Always to me, beloved father, you are feared and respected;
and I wish bitter death had been what I wanted, when I came hither
following your son, forsaking my chamber, my kinsmen,
my growing child, and the loveliness of girls my own age.
It did not happen that way: and now I am worn with weeping.
This now I will tell you in answer to the question you asked me.
That man is Atreus’ son Agamemnon, widely powerful,
at the same time a good king and a strong spearfighter,
once my kinsman, slut that I am. Did this ever happen?”
Helen begins her speech by addressing her father-in-law (ἑκυρέ)  with the epithets αἰδοῖος (III 172) and δεινός (III 172), which are only attested together here and in Iliad XVIII 394.  In Iliad III 172, the constituent items of the formula αἰδοῖός τε … δεινός τε have been separated by the family term (ἑκυρέ); they notionally refer to (albeit in a different case) and present a new combination of the formula αἰδοίη τε φίλη τε. This lexical amalgam is an innovative use of traditional material because the dictional allomorph φίλη τε καὶ αἰδοίη / αἰδοίη τε φίλη τε is never previously employed with family terms. Αἰδοῖος acquires here a specific emotive force, since it does not simply mean ‘revered’  but expresses a new connotation for a state of intimacy, not just veneration and respect, which emphasizes the integral part that Helen plays in Priam’s family.  Moreover, this expression of emotion unfolds a poetic strategy characterizing Helen’s language throughout the poem: she constantly indicates her preference for Priam and Hector, who are the only people in Troy that show her respect despite the pain and grief she causes the Trojan people. Formulaic reshaping gives a personal touch to the beginning of her speech, underscoring her apologetic tone, which will acquire a climactic self-abusive pitch by the end of her speech. 
[κ]αὶ κλέος ἀθάνατον σωφροσύνης [μεγάλης].  |
Ἀριστοκράτεια Κορινθία. υυυ(υ) Θεόφ[ιλος].
This woman here has died after leaving behind her husband, her holy mother,
and the immortal glory of great sophrosyne. Aristocrateia from Corinth.
The participle προλιπο͂σα, like the Homeric λιποῦσα, is a marked term employed for leaving behind dear ones or something belonging to the cycle of life. λιποῦσα is attested only three more times in the entire poem (Iliad XVI 857, XXII 363, XXIV 144):
ψυχὴ δ᾿ ἐκ ῥεθέων πταμένη Ἄϊδόσδε βεβήκει,
ὃν πότμον γοόωσα, λιποῦσ᾿ ἀνδροτῆτα καὶ ἥβην.
He spoke, and as he spoke the end of death closed in upon him,
and the soul fluttering free of the limbs went down into Death’s house
mourning her destiny, leaving youth and manhood behind her.
“Go forth, Iris the swift, leaving your place on Olympos”
In the first two cases the participle λιποῦσα is used in reference to the departure of Patroclus’ and Hector’s souls to Hades, whereas in the third (Iliad XXIV 144), it takes a literal object (ἕδος). In Helen’s speech (Iliad III 174) the participle λιποῦσα, used in reference to her own advent to Troy and placed at the hexameter’s end, is deviating from its typical localization right after the trochaic caesura. Helen once more misuses an expression by shifting its position within the verse and changing its function. This localization shift is accompanied by a semantic one. By saying that she has left behind family and friends, Helen virtually implies that she has gone to Hades, that Troy is mutatis mutandis a metonymy for her figurative death. 
Helen and Achilles
κρατερός τ᾿ αἰχμητής
The noun-adjective/adjective-noun construction implies a strong parallelism but also alludes to a contrast, which has—after Book I—become a locus communis in the Iliad: Agamemnon is a great king but not such a great warrior, despite his future Iliadic aristeia. In this way, Helen looks back to the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon in Iliad I, engaging the audience to recall what had happened. Given that Helen describes Agamemnon in this way because she is ignorant of his quarrel with Achilles and has in mind the picture of Agamemnon that she knew before the war, it becomes clear how attached to the past she is, even when speaking about the present. These observations become all the more important, as they have been introduced by a truth-telling formula: τοῦτο δέ τοι ἐρέω, ὅ μ᾿ ἀνείρεαι ἠδὲ μεταλλᾷς. Not only does Helen present Agamemnon in a manner that recasts the events of Iliad I, but she also corroborates her presentation as if she were a guest replying truthfully to the questions of her host.
The Silent Voice
῾῾οὗτος δ᾿ // αὖ // Λαερτιάδης // πολύμητις Ὀδυσσεύς,
ὃς τράφεν // ἐν δήμῳ Ἰθάκης // κραναῆς// περ ἐούσης,
εἰδὼς // παντοίους τε // δόλους // καὶ μήδεα πυκνά.᾿᾿
Helen, the daughter descended of Zeus, spoke then in answer:
“This one is Laertes’ son, resourceful Odysseus,
who grew up in the country, rough though it be, of Ithaka,
to know every manner of shiftiness and crafty counsels.”
Helen’s answer strikes with its laconic style. Her dictional thrift is at once opposed to Antenor’s eloquence, who both describes in detail Menelaus  and Odysseus (III 204–224) and elaborates on the presentation of the king of Ithaca. The basic question concerns Helen’s inability to talk minutely about Odysseus, a problem that the tradition solves by giving Antenor, one of the Trojan elders, the opportunity to fill the gap. A close look at Helen’s answer speaks for the formularity  of her response, since these verses of “compressed biography and characterization”  are opposed to the rarity of giving Odysseus’ patronymic in a case other than the vocative in the Iliad. 
καὶ ἔπεα νιφάδεσσιν ἐοικότα χειμερίῃσιν,
οὐκ ἂν ἔπειτ᾿ Ὀδυσῆΐ γ᾿ ἐρίσσειε βροτὸς ἄλλος.
οὐ τότε γ᾿ ὧδ᾿ Ὀδυσῆος ἀγασσάμεθ᾿ εἶδος ἰδόντες.
But when he let the great voice go from his chest, and the words came
drifting down like the winter snows, then no other mortal
man beside could stand up against Odysseus. Then we
wondered less beholding Odysseus’ outward appearance.
Intratextual and Intertextual Helen
῾῾οὗτος δ᾿ // Αἴας // ἐστὶ // πελώριος, ἕρκος Ἀχαιῶν.
Ἰδομενεὺς // δ᾿ ἑτέρωθεν // ἐνὶ Κρήτεσσι θεὸς ὥς
ἕστηκ᾿, // ἀμφὶ δέ μιν // Κρητῶν ἀγοὶ // ἠγερέθονται.
πολλάκι // μιν // ξείνισσεν // ἀρηΐφιλος Μενέλαος
οἴκῳ ἐν ἡμετέρῳ, // ὁπότε // Κρήτηθεν // ἵκοιτο.
νῦν δ᾿ // ἄλλους μὲν πάντας // ὁρῶ // ἑλίκωπας Ἀχαιούς,
οὕς // κεν ἔϋ // γνοίην // καί τ᾿ // οὔνομα // μυθησαίμην,
δοιὼ δ᾿ // οὐ δύναμαι ἰδέειν // κοσμήτορε λαῶν,
Κάστορά θ᾿ ἱππόδαμον καὶ πὺξ ἀγαθὸν Πολυδεύκεα,
αὐτοκασιγνήτω, // τώ μοι μία γείνατο μήτηρ.
ἠ᾿ οὐκ ἐσπέσθην // Λακεδαίμονος ἐξ ἐρατεινῆς,
ἢ // δεύρω // μὲν // ἕποντο // νέεσσ᾿ ἔνι ποντοπόροισιν ,
νῦν αὖτ᾿ // οὐκ ἐθέλουσι // μάχην // καταδύμεναι // ἀνδρῶν,
αἴσχεα // δειδιότες // καὶ // ὀνείδεα // πόλλ᾿ // ἅ μοί ἐστιν.᾿᾿
Helen with the light robes and shining among women answered him:
“That one is gigantic Aias, wall of the Achaians,
and beyond him there is Idomeneus like a god standing
among the Kretans, and the lords of Krete are gathered about him.
Many a time warlike Menelaos would entertain him
in our house when he came over from Krete. And I see them
all now, all the rest of the glancing-eyed Achaians,
all whom I would know well by sight, whose names I could tell you,
yet nowhere can I see those two, the marshals of the people,
Kastor, breaker of horses, and the strong boxer, Polydeukes,
my own brothers, born with me of a single mother.
Perhaps these came not with the rest from Lakedaimon the lovely,
or else they did come here in their sea-wandering ships, yet
now they are reluctant to go with the men into battle
dreading the words of shame and all the reproach that is on me.”
Helen’s reply is virtually completed in the very first verse of her speech with the description of Ajax (Iliad III 229). The mention of Idomeneus, who stands nearby, is merely a pretext for what might seem to the eyes of a conservative critic an unnecessary autobiographical addition with no bearing on the situation. A closer look, though, shows that the reference to Idomeneus transfers Helen’s thoughts back to Sparta, when she recalls that Menelaus had often offered hospitality to Idomeneus in their palace at home.
There are further examples corroborating the idea of a response or rather an echo coming from Antenor’s previous speech:
These textual analogies are a clear sign of intratextual mirroring between Antenor’s and Helen’s speeches.  But since Helen speaks after Antenor and not vice versa, only her speech can implicitly allude to the preceding one. This may even hint at an indirect reply, because Helen skillfully uses the language of xenia to reshape and reformulate her past life. She consistently attempts to redefine her image by insisting on presenting her past in her own terms. In this way, she fosters the stance of the external narrator, as if she were rivaling a competitive song tradition that was fond of disparaging her through a negative portrayal.