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Oenone

Oenone

[ee-noh-nee]
Oenone, in Greek mythology, nymph skilled in the art of healing. Paris loved her but later deserted her for Helen. Oenone, in revenge, sent their son, Corythus, to guide the Greeks to Troy. When Paris lay mortally wounded, he asked her to heal him but she refused. After learning of his death, she committed suicide.

In Greek mythology, Oenone (Pronunciation in English iˈnoni, in Ancient Greek oi'nōnē, meaning "wine woman") was the first wife of Paris of Troy, whom he abandoned for the queen Helen of Sparta.

Oenone was a mountain nymph (an Oread) on Mount Ida in Phrygia, a mountain associated with the Mother Goddess Cybele. Her father was Cebren, a river-god. Her very name links her to the gift of wine.

Paris, son of the king Priam and the queen Hecuba, fell in love with Oenone when he was a shepherd on the slopes of Mount Ida, having been exposed in infancy owing to a prophecy that he would be the means of the destruction of the city of Troy but rescued by the herdsman Agelaus. The couple married, and Oenone gave birth to a son, Corythus. When Paris later abandoned her to return to Troy and sail across the Aegean to kidnap the queen Helen of Sparta, Oenone predicted the Trojan War.

Out of revenge for Paris' betrayal, she sent Corythus to guide the Greeks to Troy. Another version has it that she used her son to drive a rift between Paris and Helen, but Paris, not recognizing his own son, killed him.

The only extensive surviving narration of Oenone and Paris is Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica, book X.259-489, which tells the return of wounded Paris to Oenone. Mortally wounded by Philoctetes' arrow, he begged Oenone to heal him with her herbal arts, but she refused and cast him out with scorn, to return to Helen's bed, and Paris died on the lower slopes of Ida. Then, overcome with remorse, Oenone, the one whole-hearted mourner of Paris, threw herself onto his burning funeral pyre, which the shepherds had raised.

Ovid includes an imagined reproachful letter from Oenone to Helen in his collection Heroides, a text that has been extended by a number of spurious post-Ovidian interpolations, which include a rape of Oenone by Apollo that is nowhere confirmed in other sources..

"Oenone and Paris" (1594) is an epillyon by Thomas Heywood.

"The Misjudgment Of Oenone" is a play by Michael R. McGuire.

Tennyson adapted Quintus' treatment of the theme for "The death of Oenone" (1892) and distilled its tragic essence.

References

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