Essay Troy vs. The Iliad

Essay Troy vs. The Iliad

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Troy vs. The Iliad


Over the thousands of years that the epic story the Iliad has survived, there has no doubt been some form of alteration to Homer’s original. Last May, Wolfgang Petersen directed a movie based on the Iliad. This movie, Troy, has proven to be a very loose adaptation of Homer’s original, as are almost all stories that are made into movies, unfortunately. With its timeless storyline, amazing scenery, gorgeous actors/actresses and most of all, its reported two hundred million dollar budget, it is easy to see why Troy was hyped up to be a box office hit. However, the film critics were harsh on this movie, as they had every right to be, and it ended up being a total flop. Compared to Homer’s Iliad, Troy is rather disappointing. But, to be fair, one must keep in mind the limitations of a movie compared to those of a book, and the fact that the title is Troy, not the Iliad. It really is not as bad as expected. Troy is Homer’s Iliad gone to Hollywood. There probably are just as many similarities as differences from the original. The three major upsetting differences in Troy compared to the Iliad are the absence of the Gods, the weak character and plot development, and the addition, exclusion, and reversal of key points.

First and most disappointing, was the absence of the Gods in the movie Troy. Divine intervention was a major variable in Homer’s Iliad. The Gods affected every aspect of this poem. While the Gods were mentioned and the viewers were made well aware that the characters believe in the Gods, the only God that was physically seen was Thetis, Goddess of the Sea and Achilles’ mother. One memorable quote from the movie was in a conversation between Achilles and Briseis. Briseis states, “All the Gods are to be feared and respected” (Troy 2004). Achilles answers by saying:

Can I tell you a secret, something they don’t teach you in your temple?
The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any
moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re
doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are right now. We will
never be here again (Troy 2004).

The suspected start of the war- over the abduction of Helen, Queen of Sparta- was caused entirely by a godly conflict over who was the most beautiful- Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, was selected to judge. He chose Aphro...


... middle of paper ...


...side of Troy’s gates. Of course, Hector losing his nerve and running around Troy before facing Achilles for his fatal duel would have been quite entertaining to see in the movie also. As mentioned before, Hector was portrayed as somewhat of a hero, and if this aspect of the fight was shown, Achilles would have been glorified even more and shown as more of the hero that he was in the Iliad. Most of these things were probably changed in the making of the movie to create a happier, more finalized and simpler storyline.

In conclusion, although the Iliad is based upon Troy, it is not really fair to compare the two. A book and a movie are two entirely different things. It is almost like comparing apples to oranges. Homer’s Iliad is a classic tale, and even though many people might agree that such a masterpiece should not be tampered with, it is important to keep it alive and spread it to all those around.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold, ed. Homer’s Iliad, Bloom’s Notes. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House, 1996

Nardo, Don, ed. Readings on Homer. San Diego, CA: Green Haven, 1998

Troy. Dir. Wolfgang Petersen. Perf. Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom. Warner
Brothers Pictures, 2004

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