Myths and Movies: Troy
The society that we live in would always pay tribute to the people who have made a significant mark in society. Characters in stories and in mythology, which have been an important part of society, were also given much importance. Their stories have been retold either in the movies or in television. One of these movies was Troy.
The movie, Troy, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, was about the mythological story of how war was caused by the most beautiful woman during that time, named Helen of Sparta. As the title implied, the story was focused on the war that occurred between the Greeks and the Trojans. The mythological version wanted to show what happened years ago, and how the Gods were able to influence the decisions humans made at that time.
In addition to this, the mythological version showed how the Trojan War begun, with the corresponding reasons. The origins of the main characters and the lives of their families were also given much importance for the readers to fully comprehend the story. Furthermore, the participation of the gods was also evident throughout the whole story. The gods were considered immortal, but were given power to interact and converse with the humans. They also had the capability of manipulating the lives humans, especially in dealing with others.
Furthermore, the epic also showed that the people and the gods could co-exist with one another. The gods were free to do what they wished, and were even given the privilege of having relationships with humans. Thus, many of the characters in mythology were somehow connected with the gods. The story of the Trojan War was considered as one of the most important epics in mythology, for it covered many events in the lives of humankind.
The film adaptation, on the other hand, only magnified the war that occurred between the Trojans and the Greeks. Not much was given about how the war originated, and the great influence the gods had on the humans. In addition to this, many parts of the original epic were omitted in the film. Other characters and parts of the epic were omitted in the film, to give more room for the war. The presence of the gods in the epic was omitted in the film. The adaptation only mentioned the gods in some of the lines, and sometimes showing their support to the humans. However, their human bodies were never seen in the film.
I could definitely say that the original version of the myth was altered in such a way that the film version would be appealing to the audience. The setting of the story was in the 12th century, away from the technological advancements that the viewers were accustomed to. Instead, viewers were sent back to a time when everything else was simple, and war was common among powerful and influential kingdoms.
Mythology explained that Paris was tricked into choosing who the fairest among the three goddesses was. Armed with different gifts, Paris was manipulated by the goddesses and was blinded by what Aphrodite had offered him, which was the love of the fairest woman in the land. In the film, Paris was implied to have loved Helen from the very start making the film adaptation pace faster.
Another alteration made in the film adaptation was that of the real personality of Patroclus. He was identified as one of the closest cousins of the great Achilles, while in the epic, Patroclus was only identified as one of the closest cousins of Achilles. The written version also implied that Patroclus was a strong and good warrior. This may be the reason as to why the Trojans had mistaken Patroclus as the great warrior, himself. The film adaptation, on the other hand, showed Patroclus to be a young boy, who wanted to follow the footsteps of his great cousin, Achilles. This step was done to show the viewers that although Achilles was arrogant and strong, he had a good heart for his family and friends. The two stories were unified to the original plot, when Achilles was enraged knowing about the death of his beloved Patroclus.
The film adaptation also lacked the presence of the gods and goddesses during the war. To make the adaptation more humanistic, people were shown to have been slain by the important people in their society. This is in contrast to the big roles that the gods and goddesses had in the written version. The film showed that Hector was killed, lying helplessly in the ground, with the Greeks keeping his body. His father, King Priam, soon went to Achilles to retrieve the body of his slain son.
In the written version, however, Hector’s soul left his mortal body. The soul was able to reach Hades before Achilles retrieved the armor that Hector wore. The gods were infuriated, causing an intervention. The film adaptation showed King Priam come to Achilles on his own will, convincing Achilles to let him bury his son. The written version showed something different. The gods instructed King Priam to retrieve the body of his lifeless son, Hector, from the hands of the great Achilles and paying him loads of riches.
The film adaptation also made Paris and Helen’s characters unimportant. In comparison to the written version, Paris and Helen were the primary reason as to why a war emerged. Helen, who was married to Menelaus, the ruler of Sparta, fell in love with the young prince, Paris, who hailed from Troy. It was disappointing to actually see these two characters act like young children in the film adaptation. I felt that their pivotal role of the lovers in the Trojan War was disregarded, so their good looks may be given much attention.
Furthermore, a make believe character, in the form of Boagrius, was killed in the start of the film. In comparison with the written version, the Boagrius was no great warrior, but rather, a river that calmly witnessed the things that happened to the people at that time.
The changes made from the written version to the film adaptation were very much evident all throughout the course of the film. Many of the important scenes were deleted, while a few other characters were added in the adaptation for more theatrical effect. The monumental fight scenes were impressive, given the technological advancements present. The battle scenes were specific, from the smallest to the biggest detail.
I believe that these production specifications were all done to add more effect and drama to the story. These actions were purposely done to keep the viewers entertained and alive. If the writers and the director decided to stick to the original context of the written version, the viewers might have not enjoyed the adaptation. The special effects also showed a detailed version of how the director envisioned the Trojan War. This technique is advantageous to both the director and the viewers, for creativity and the imagination are honed through the scenes shown in the film.
The present society dictates that people should be up-to-date with the advancements that occur in their day-to-day lives. Although this is society’s way of moving forward, it is still important for everyone to remember their past, especially the impressive works left for people to study. The Trojan War was one of the mythological epics created to enhance the imagination of the readers, and at the same time, make them realize the importance of gods and goddesses in the lives of humankind.
In addition to this, the film adaptation also made the viewers realize that power is not everything in this world. Numerous people died fighting for honor, pride, greed and revenge. These can still be related to the present lives people endure. The advancements in the lives of people make them pace with time, and with their professional lives. Sometimes, the search for more power and wealth may lead to the destruction of many. This is very much similar to the life people had during the 12th century. The only difference is that people nowadays live a highly advanced and complicated lifestyle than those of the olden times.
Myths are to be considered to be an epitome of how people control their existence on earth. Some may live a simple yet fulfilling lifestyle, while others would rather choose the hard yet ego-boosting life. Either way, these are still mere reflections of how people, regardless of time and location, would face their life, in general.
Wilson, C., Rathbun, D., & Petersen, W. (2004). Troy. United States: Warner Bros. Home Video Entertainment Group.