Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Influence of Homer's Iliad on Troy the film.

 First off, Homer's Iliad was the main source of influence for Wolfgang Petersen's film, Troy. However, even though it is directly influenced by the poem, Troy does not stay true to the poem for the entire movie. Some major difference's between Homer's Iliad and Wolfgang Petersen's film Troy, is that there was no mention of the Gods being participants in the battle of Troy. This was a major plot point in Homer's Iliad, as the Gods who fought on the battlefield had somewhat of an influence on the outcome of each battle and eventually the outcome of the war. By taking out the 'God' element that the original poem had, Wolfgang Petersen has given the film more room for human emotions. This allows themes like love to be much more emphasised than the actual war itself. The removal of the Gods participation on the battlefield, sort of detracted from the overall feeling that the war was based around, which was the battle of the Gods. Every action that occured in the plot was somehow influenced by the Gods. This can be shown by Zeus saying "Nothing can be revoked or said in vain
nor unfulfilled if I should nod my head." (Book 1, Lines 526-527) This shows how Zeus and even the other gods have the absolute power to change the course of the world and the war with just a 'nod of their heads.'
 Another example is the instigation of the war by Paris' selection of Aphrodite as the most beautiful Goddess. This in turn gave Paris his prize which was the most beautiful woman in the world. Unfortunately, Helen who is the prize that Paris is awarded is already married to Menelaus, King of Sparta, and so he abducts her. This, coupled with Hera and Athena's anger causes the Trojan war. In the film, Helen was abducted by Paris in a similar manner, however, it is not because Helen was awarded as a prize for Paris, but instead it is because he loves her and she loves him the same way. This can be shown by Paris' desciption of Helen when he says "Father, you are a great king, because you love your country so much. Every blade of grass, every grain of sand, every rock in the river... You love all of Troy. That is the way I love Helen." By looking at this example, Wolfgang Petersen's way of thinking makes sense, by taking the Gods out of the plot, Petersen can allow for the love of two mortals to bring about the long Trojan war. If Petersen did add the Gods into the plot line, then the main theme which is shown in the film Troy would not be as prominently featured in the film. As stated before, in previous posts, Wolfgang Petersen would have likely changed this major plot point, to cater for the modern audience. This gives more appeal to modern audience members. This is again due to the modern audience's love for drama and romance, more so than violence and philosophical musings.

 Another difference between Petersen's version of the Trojan war and the original by Homer is the addition of emotions for the character Achilles. In the film Achilles is seen to be mourning the loss of a great warrior, Hector. However, in The Iliad, Achilles who slaughters Hector, is not seen showing any sort of sympathy towards the great Trojan warrior's death. The addition of emotions to Achilles' character again gives the whole drama element to the overall theme of the movie. It makes Achilles seem like one of us, instead of the brutal warrior he is actually described as in the poem. This gives the modern audience a sort of pity for Achilles, who has lost his cousin Patrocles (Patrocles being Achilles' cousin)and now he has killed a great warrior, who like him, loved his family. Another point to make is that Helen was eventually taken by Menelaus, and Menelaus was not killed by Hector. By doing this Petersen gave the film a sort of good guy gets the girl type feeling, as Paris is shown to be innocent and harmless, even though he caused the war. In the film he may be seen as a hero type character, but in the poem, he is seen as a villain type character. As stated before, Paris is a villain. because he cause the Trojan war.

 Petersen's version of the Trojan war, stays true to the basic plot line of the actual Trojan war detailed in Homer's Iliad. However the basic plot line which Petersen retains is not enough to give viewers, details on what really happened in the Trojan war. Petersen sacrifices key plot points for themes that will appeal to the more modern audience as his version contains the drama that a modern audience loves and the theme of romance and love, which the modern audience also enjoys. This would not be the case for an ancient Greek audience, as the ancient Greeks preferred a much more violent, philosophical story, with literary opinions on the Gods, which they admired.

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