Beauty and woman are two terms which are often used together. In fact, women are usually expected to be beautiful just as men are expected to be strong. Whenever a woman falls to meet the society’s expectation of beauty she is not considered worthy of attention. In the earlier days, when women’s sole survival depended on getting married, beauty was very important. Though these conditions have changed in the current world, still, beauty is considered a “virtue” women should have.
In this regard, a woman who is beautiful is considered lucky. However, if you are too beautiful, well, that is not luck. Sure, beauty can bring you the husband you hope to have. However, that is if you have a say in which person you would like to marry. If not you have to go with the person who is capable of winning your family’s good wishes.
In history or rather in mythologies or folklore we always see women who were so beautiful that they became a some man’s desire and ended up having a very tragic fate. There are many such women, but let us focus on just two. One of the women is chosen from the Western culture while the other is chosen from the Eastern culture.
Helen of Troy
Helen is known as “the face that launched a thousand ships.” She was the daughter of Zeus and Leda, the Spartan queen at the time. Her beauty was very famous that there were a number of suitors willing to wed her. In the end, it was Menelaus who was chosen to wed the beauty. It is never mentioned Helen had any say in the matter. After the marriage while they were living as husband and wife, Paris entered into Helen’s life. The accounts about exactly what happened between Helen and Paris are dubious. Some say Paris raped and captured her. Some say they fell in love. It is never clearly explained. Somehow, Paris managed to take her to Troy. However, Menelaus came to war with Troy and ended up winning the war. What exactly happened to Helen after the war is also not definite as there are different accounts. Some say she lived well with her husband. Some say she died.
Queen Padmini/ Queen Padmavati
Padmini also known as Padmavati was a very beautiful princess. The Rajput ruler of Chittor, Ratan Sen, heard about her incomparable beauty from a talking parrot. He was able to win her hand after facing a lot of difficulties. As the story goes, she was in love with him too. The ruler of Delhi at the time, Alauddin Khalji, also heard about this beautiful queen. He wanted her for himself. Therefore, he laid siege to Chittor. His black heart did not care whether or not this married woman wanted to go with him. In the end, he was able to capture the fort. Ratan Sen was killed. However, before Alauddin could capture her Padmavati committed suicide by burning herself to death.
Though there are different sources which say both of these women were only fictional characters, one thing is clear. It was their beauty which did not let them live a peaceful life. Helen never got a say in her life but was passed from man to man because they wanted to have her. Queen Padmavati at least got a chance to save herself from becoming a victim to a man she did not wish to be with. However, it does not make her luckier as she ended up killing herself for her honour.
Beauty will always be a problem, mostly for women, as long as people do not understand beauty as a transient thing. Even today there are women who face tragic situations because of their beauty. Beauty can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse for a woman.