Helena.—(1) A lady in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, in love with Demetrius. (2) The heroine of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, in love with Bertram, who marries her against his will and leaves her, but is finally won by the strength of her affection. (3) A character in an old popular tale, reproduced in Germany by Tieck.
Helena  (hel ´en-a ), or Helene  (hel ´en-ē); commonly called Helen of Troy. Daughter of Jupiter and Leda, and sister of Castor and Pollux. She was the greatest beauty of her age, and her hand was sought by the noblest chiefs of Greece. She chose Menelaus (men-e-lā´us ), and became by him the mother of Hermione. She eloped with Paris (q.v.) to Troy, and hence arose the Trojan war, as all the Greek chiefs, who had been former suitors of Helen, resolved to avenge her abduction, and sailed with Menelaus against Troy. After the death of Paris she married his brother Deiphobus (de-if ´ob-us ). On the capture of Troy, after a ten years' siege, she became reconciled to Menelaus, and returned with him to Sparta, where they lived for a number of years in peace and happiness.