Literature

I know this is a homework board, but I really was wondering if anyone could help me with a book I'm reading... it's a classic [The Picture of Dorian Gray], so I thought I'd give it a shot. Could anyone explain to me what Lord Henry and the Duchess of Monmouth are talking about at the end of chapter 17 with the lines "I am on the side of the Trojans. They fought for a woman."

"They were defeated."

"There are worse things than capture," she answered.

"You gallop with a loose rein."

And then later...

"I shall write it in my diary tonight." [Henry]

"What?" [the Duchess]

"That a burnt child loves the fire."

"I am not even singed. My wings are untouched."

I understand that Henry was just reproaching her for flirting with Dorian, but the only information I can find about this scene online is that Henry & the Duchess are having a witty conversation... I'd really like it if someone could go into more depth for me. Thanks in advance.

Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. You may have heard the expression "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts." In Homer's Iliad, according to mythology, Troy was burned by the Greeks with a gift. The Trojan horse was left outside the gates of Troy, and being curious, it was dragged into the city and left overnight. Inside, however, were soldiers that descended the horse that night, opening the gates of Troy and burning the city. Here is the story:


The Trojan Horse
Still seeking to gain entrance into Troy, clever Odysseus (some say with the aid of Athena) ordered a large wooden horse to be built. Its insides were to be hollow so that soldiers could hide within it.
Once the statue had been built by the artist Epeius, a number of the Greek warriors, along with Odysseus, climbed inside. The rest of the Greek fleet sailed away, so as to deceive the Trojans.
One man, Sinon, was left behind. When the Trojans came to marvel at the huge creation, Sinon pretended to be angry with the Greeks, stating that they had deserted him. He assured the Trojans that the wooden horse was safe and would bring luck to the Trojans.
Only two people, Laocoon and Cassandra, spoke out against the horse, but they were ignored. The Trojans celebrated what they thought was their victory, and dragged the wooden horse into Troy.
That night, after most of Troy was asleep or in a drunken stupor, Sinon let the Greek warriors out from the horse, and they slaughtered the Trojans. Priam was killed as he huddled by Zeus' altar and Cassandra was pulled from the statue of Athena and raped.

The saying is "the burnt child dreads the fire" so the second conversation may not refer to that, but instead another mythological story. Daedalus and his son were locked in a labyrinth. In order to escape they built artificial wings. Icarus, the son, flew too close to heaven and the sun melted his wings.



The essence of that repartee is Henry is warning the dutchess not to get involved with Dorian. People who flirt with danger ( Trojans - Daedalus) very often end the worse for it.

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