Did Hector Kill Menelaus?

A Roman marble sarcophagus depicting scenes from the Trojan War

George Rose / Getty Images

In the Warner Bros. movie "Troy," Menelaus is the feeble, old husband of Helen, the ruler of Sparta, and the brother of Agamemnon, head king of all the Greeks. Paris seeks Menelaus for hand-to-hand combat for the hand of Helen. After Paris is injured, Hector kills Menelaus rather than let Menelaus kill his brother. The legend is somewhat different.

Truth in Cinema

As is shown in the movie, Menelaus did receive Paris as a guest in his home. When Paris left Sparta, he took Helen with him back to Troy. When Menelaus discovered his wife and the mother of their daughter Hermione was missing and that his former guest was responsible, he asked his brother Agamemnon for help regaining his wife and punishing this outrage. Agamemnon agreed, and after rounding up the other former suitors of Helen the Greeks set off for Troy.

In the movie, the gods have been relegated to the background, whereas in the Homeric legend, they are on the scene. When Menelaus and Paris fight, Aphrodite intervenes to save her protege Paris and Menelaus survives. Menelaus is wounded during the later fighting but is healed. Not only does Menelaus survive, but he is one of the few Greek leaders to survive the Trojan War and the trip home, even if it took eight years. In legend, he and Helen return to Sparta.

While in "Troy," Helen says that she wasn't really Helen of Sparta, that she was just Spartan because of her husband, in the legend, Helen's mortal father (or stepfather) was king of Sparta. Tyndareus gave Sparta to his son-in-law Menelaus when his own sons, the Dioscuri, died.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Gill, N.S. "Did Hector Kill Menelaus?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/did-hector-kill-menelaus-111795. Gill, N.S. (2020, August 27). Did Hector Kill Menelaus? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/did-hector-kill-menelaus-111795 Gill, N.S. "Did Hector Kill Menelaus?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/did-hector-kill-menelaus-111795 (accessed June 5, 2023).