Helen of Troy has been revived through literature during the past centuries. Contrasting views such as the ones of Edgar Allan Poe or H.D. are contrasted through literary elements such as speaker, diction, and imagery. H.D. portrays in his poem "Helen" a pessimistic view of her, while Poe idolatries her in a superficial way in his poem "To Helen". .
When comparing H.D.'s and Poe's poems, it is evident that the speakers in each have contradicting views about Helen. In H.D.'s poem, the speaker shows no sympathy towards Helen. The Speaker is certainly a contemporary of Helen as he/she states in line 17 that he/she wished to see her dead. Moreover, it is to be assumed that he/she is also Greek as he/she refers to the many lives of the Trojans who died in the Trojan War. According to this poem, "all Greece hates [Helen]" (line 1) for possessing such beauty that would cause Paris to enter her life and take her to Troy thus starting a long bloody war killing innocent Greek soldiers. Overall, the speaker depicts Helen in this poem with no compassion; nevertheless, it encourages the reader to sympathize with her as one feels pity for her. On the other hand, in Edgar Alan Poe's poem, it is uncertain who the speaker is, but it is clear that he/she admires her exterior beauty. First, it is obvious that he/she is not Helen's contemporary. This is evident since he is familiar with both the Greek and the Roman world and he looks back on the "Nicean barks of yore" (line 3) signifying that he is not a contemporary of Helen. Moreover, this poem does not look deep into Helens thoughts or emotions. This is rather a shallow and superficial interpretation of Helen, as it lacks to analyze her as a person. The speaker praises Helen for her outward beauty and sites attributes that are well know. For instance he/she compares her to the beauty and "grandeur that was Rome" (line 10) and Greece. The speaker, however, treats Helen more like an object than a person and even refers to her as " statue-like" in line 12.