Essay on The Film Alexander by Oliver Stone

Essay on The Film Alexander by Oliver Stone

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The film Alexander by Oliver Stone, is based on the life of Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, one of the greatest military leaders in the history of warfare. The story begins around 283 BC, with Ptolemy, who narrates throughout the film. The film offers a disclaimer at the end of the credits signifying that the film is “inspired by certain historical events,” and that some of those events have been moved around a bit. Alexander was not made to be a historical or archaeological documentary.
Alexander is the son of King Philip of Macedonia and Queen Olympias. We see Alexander's daily life and the strained relationship between his parents. Alexander grows up with his mother Olympias and his tutor Aristotle, where he finds interest in love, honor, music, exploration, poetry, and military combat. Young Alexander impresses his father by taming an intractable horse, but both mother and son are banished from the kingdom, Olympias advising her son to seize the throne before Philip has him murdered. As things work out, Philip is murdered, and Alexander rules Macedonia. (BBC)
Ptolemy briefly mentions how Alexander destroys Thebes and burns Persepolis, then gives an overview of Alexander's journey through west-Persia, including his declaration as the son of Zeus by the Oracle of Amun at Siwa Oasis. He also points out his great battle against the Persian Emperor Darius III in the Battle of Gaugamela and his eight-year campaign across Asia. The movie focuses a lot on Alexander's private relationships with his childhood friend Hephaestion and later his wife Roxana. Hephaestion compares Alexander to Achilles, to which Alexander replies that, if he is Achilles, Hephaestion must be his Patroclus, who is Achilles' best friend and his lover. Th...


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... wife Roxane was not as passionate as the film portrayed her. Historically she seems to have been a devoted wife and mother, whose main role was to producing children for the king.
Both Gaugamela and Babylon are identified as being in Persia, rather than in Assyria and Babylonia. While both places were part of the Persian Empire, it doesn’t make sense to identify them as being Persian. And one of Aristotle’s maps shows “Greece” as spread across the southern Balkans incorporating what today would include Greece, but also Albania, Bulgaria, and sections of former Yugoslavia. These regions had never been considered as part of “Greece” in ancient times. In the end it is not as important to include everything because then the movie would be too long for a viewer. What is important is to insure that what is included is historically accurate within the bounds of reason.

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