Helen of Troy is said to have been the most beautiful woman in the world, yet we have no evidence of what she really looked like. This missing piece has worked in her favor, as authors and artists have tried to “fill in the blank” ever since. For over two millennia, her story has inspired countless creative responses, from Homer’s Iliad to Hollywood’s Troy. Helen makes us think about issues that still resonate today: how do we define beauty? what is worth fighting for? how far should one go for love? In this course, we will study the story of Helen in multiple retellings, asking questions about the value of beauty, the risks of desire, and the consequences for society when individuals place love above all else. Students will read ancient and modern sources, analyze and debate them, and write about the issues. The course requires no prior knowledge of the material.