Film Adaptation Of A Beloved Stage Musical Set Essay

Film Adaptation Of A Beloved Stage Musical Set Essay

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A marginally campy film adaptation of a beloved stage musical set in the court of
King Arthur is likely not conceived with the intent to provide profound insight into the state of
the human condition. It is borne of an unfilled demand for entertainment, above all else, and
“Camelot” delivers a touching retelling of a familiar legend with only slightly butchered
musical numbers. By contrast, a sprawling war epic centering on the role of the gods and
influence of fate upon human lives conveys a sense of gravitas missing from most
moviemusicals.
Yet The Iliad, too, is meant primarily to amuse. Beyond the entertainment
value of both works, however, the characterization of certain perceived heroes exemplifies
the concept of toxic masculinity“
the sociallyconstructed
attitudes that describe the
masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive”as
it impacts men
operating within social frameworks, like wartime politics or a medieval royal court, which
particularly prize the classic idea of a warrior (Lu). When controlled for cultural bias,
Homer’s The Iliad and Lerner and Lowe’s “Camelot” portray strikingly similar narratives
about the damage inherent to the institution of masculinity as it manifests through the hubris
of male heroes.
In perhaps the most common classical representation of hubris, both works depict
contempt for the gods: in The Iliad through direct defiance and in “Camelot” through
presumption above mortal station. Agamemnon is the most blatant perpetrator, telling
Chryses that “the wreaths of god will never save [him] then” in response to Chryses’ request
for the return of his daughter (78). In keeping with the contemporary Greek perspective that
the gods are flawed, tangible actors in human lives, Apoll...


... middle of paper ...


...e affection creates tension between the external
display of glory and entitlement and the inherently humbling tenderness they feel, leading
them to selfimmolation.
Achilles, on learning of Patroclus’ death and his own impending
demise, swears that he “will follow [Patroclus] underneath the ground... venting [his] rage on
them for [Patroclus’] destruction” (478). Achilles is foundering under his grief, since grief is
a predominantly introspective and noncombative
emotion. Since genuine, nonmilitant
emotion is incongruous with Achilles’ existing perception of himself as a warrior first, he still
sees no recourse but violence, vowing vengeance instead of seeking emotional closure.
Subsequently, Achilles becomes entrenched in a series of escalating atrocities that he
feels he needs to commit in order to properly cope with his love for Patroclus and
consequent bereavement.

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