World Literature ‘Iliad’

Topic: ArtBooks
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Last updated: April 2, 2019

The fans of Brad Pitt literally shouted for joy when they watched the epic movie “Troy”. The heavily endorsed film gathered the brightest stars in Hollywood and they did not fail to entertain. The main characters in the film were found in the book as well like Paris, Agamemnon, Hector and Achilles and the actors like Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana and Brian Cox had given justice to their roles. It had captured the mood of the epic. They had projected the main characters in the Trojan War really well.

From the costumes to the special effects and cinematography, the movie had been successful in bringing the famous Greek epic to life.  However, the movie was meant only to entertain, not to educate. It lacked the essential scenes that were included in the book like the role and the influence of the gods in the war and in the lives of the people. It is very hard and almost impossible to sum every detail of the epic of the Iliad in one movie that would run only for a few hours.  That is why watching the movie “Troy” is not a good substitute for reading the book “the Iliad”.

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Nevertheless, this movie could complement the book. It could elucidate the imagination of the readers of what had really transpired during the Trojan War that was made even better because Brad Pitt was one of the heroes in the war.As said above, one of the major difference between the book and the movie is the essential role of the gods who in the Trojan War. In the book, the gods had a very important participation in every war which was not clearly shown in the film. As a matter of fact, only Thetis, the mother of Achilles who had bathed him in River Styx was the only god shown in the film (“A Review of the Movie Troy”). However, one cannot say that the main difference between the two is the absence of the gods because the Greeks and the Trojans were always talking about it in the movie.

In Homer’s Iliad, almost all of the outcomes of every battle or confrontation in the war were influenced by the whims of the gods. In the movie, it was implied in the strategy of each faction. It was also shown in the movie that they plan things in accordance to the will of the gods who are their sides. But the conspiracies and turmoil in the house of the gods and how they themselves quarrel were not shown in the movie which is a very important part in the book (Homer 164 -174).In Troy, the quarrel over Briseis was the only reason why Achilles decided not to join the whole Greek army to fight in Troy. In Iliad, his reason was more than that. It has something to do with his personal vendetta against Agamemnon. Although Achilles was very happy when his mom told him that his name will not be forgotten for thousands of years, any hero would be happy to hear that, it was not enough to persuade him to go back to his fellowmen who were in the feat of loss since he left (Homer 11-20).

From the story of Achilles, the flow of the story on both the movie and the book moved to the real cause of the war which centered on the elopement Paris and Helen. Paris was described in the book as a young and charming man. His name sounded like he was so delicate, the type of person who won’t go to war. Well in the movie, this role was played by the handsome actor Orlando Bloom and he played it really well.  Nonetheless, it was not able to show why of all women, Paris was drawn to Helen while in the book, it was clearly explained that Aphrodite had promised to give the most beautiful woman in the world.

Unfortunately that woman was already married to a Greek king. In the movie, it was shown how Paris eloped with Helen while Helen is still married to Menelaus, Agamemnon’s brother. Paris and Helen decided to run away that started that long feud between the Trojans and the Greeks. There was a scene in the movie wherein Paris finally faced Menelaus for the hand of Helen. Menelaus gained the upper hand in the confrontation which led Paris to back away. Hector, the brother of Paris came to the rescue and killed Menelaus, which was contrary to what was written in the book. In the “Iliad’, Menelaus went home with Helen after the war and was not killed as what was portrayed in the movie (“A Review of the Movie Troy”).On the other hand, there was an observed discrepancy or modification in the character of Hector.

He was described to be very aggressive, strong and barbaric in the book but in the movie, he seemed to be very gentle, low profile and more of a loving brother who was just forced to fight to protect his family. His battle with Achilles in the movie was as so remarkable and dramatic as was described and should be regarded as one the greatest battle in American cinema. The Oscars should make a new award called “best fight” and award it to Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. Achilles won and took Hector’s body back to his camp in a very barbaric way as was described in the book. The brutal way Hector was killed had led the old King Priam to give up his pride as king of Troy and beg as a father willing to do anything just to give his son the proper burial. This scene as how well as how Achilles was touched by this wise king’s plea and agreed for the 12 days mourning for Hector was very much the same as was described in the book (“A Review of the Movie Troy”).

It is perhaps one way to spice up the victory of Achilles and to show Troy that he is not an ordinary Greek warrior. Unfortunately, Achilles was killed by Paris with a shot of an arrow which was in the book, the arrow that was guided by Aphrodite to hit the heel of Achilles – his weakest point. But the role of Aphrodite in the death of Achilles was not included in the movie.The movie loosely based not only on Iliad but other books of Homer as well because Iliad ends with funeral of Hector (Homer 282). The movie could be given 9 out of 10 for the effort, but 10 out of 10 for the scripts and dialogue. Brad Pitt executed lines that will forever be remembered.

The scene when they are approaching the shores of Troy he said, “You know what’s waiting, beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It’s yours!!!” and also the scene where he was calling out Hector’s name to come out of the gates of Troy, that was just classic. The movie itself was not inaccurate, the writers and directors must have read Iliad more than once. Perhaps after they read the book, they came up with some more ideas and modification that make the plot better. The entire book of homer was very detailed in the wars between the two while movie dwelled more on the emotions of the characters in the movie. So there was no inaccuracy in that.

After all, movie claimed that the book only inspired them to make the movie.


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