Sunday, 14 October 2012

Major Differences between the Homer’s Iliad and the film Troy.

It is very apparent that the film Troy, directed by Wolfgang Peterson, has been heavily influenced by the epic poem, the Iliad, a work commonly credited to the Ancient Greek poet Homer. Both the film and the poem have the same overall plots, such as the siege of Troy by the Greeks, the feud between the warrior Achilles and the king Agamemnon, and these events being triggered due to the Trojan prince Paris “stealing” Helen of Sparta from king Menelaus to be his wife. However there are many major differences regarding many factors of these plots. These include several major characters dying in the Iliad and surviving in the film troy, the time of the death of characters, and the relationships between characters. The reason for the differences in the film Troy from the Iliad are mostly for the sake of convenience to the director and for entertainment, however the film was relatively censored compared to the poem, which was very graphic in the portrayal of violence. If the film remained true to the poem then it would most likely have received more restricted ratings and thus decrease the size of the audience it would be available to, subsequently earning less money for the publishing company/director. Some of the major differences between the film and the poem are:

  • In the Iliad the war took 10 years (quote: "Already have nine years of great Zeus gone by"), whereas in the film Troy it only took 17 days.
  • In the Iliad, Patroclus was not the cousin of Achilles, only a friend
  • Achilles was dead before the Trojan Horse was built (described in Vergil's Aeneid, no mention of the horse in the Iliad)
  • In the Iliad, Paris is killed, Hector’s baby is killed, and Hector’s wife is enslaved, however in the film Troy they escape safely.
  • Ajax doesn’t die by the hand of Hector, he kills himself due to the shame of not receiving Achilles armour (this occurs in the poem Metamorphoses by Ovid)
  • Agamemnon was killed by his wife, Clytemnestra, back in Greece, immediately after the war, not Briseies who kills him in the film
  • Hector was too scared of Achilles to fight him, and so he ran away and ran round the walls of troy several times

A ancient Greek vase depicting Ajax preparing to commit suicide

The reason for these differences between the Iliad and the film Troy are nearly 100% economic as when looking at each individual example of the differences all of them are either due to lowering expenses/complexity of making the film Troy (i.e. 17 day war instead of 10 years), or due to the director attempting to make the film more likable to increase the size of the audience appeal and therefore earn more revenue from the film (i.e. making the film a more feel good experience by letting Paris, Hector’s wife, and Hector’s baby escape with citizens of Troy creating an atmosphere of hopes lives on/light at the end of the tunnel for Troy). The film would appeal to a significantly lower amount of people had Paris ,and Hector’s wife and baby been killed, many people would likely be frustrated by the ‘well this is just stupid everyone dies’ atmosphere that would be present had the director remained true to the Iliad, as in the Iliad there is truly no hope left Troy. There is really no other reason the director has made these differences in the film Troy apart from money, and as all the major and small differences are observed it becomes clear that the film was moulded and catered to appeal to a modern day audience with modern day expectations of films.

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