The Roles the Gods Played in the Iliad and Troy Essay
The gods were more involved in the Iliad than in the movie Troy - The Roles the Gods Played in the Iliad and Troy Essay introduction. In the Iliad they manipulated people’s emotions, the weather, the outcomes of battle; they would disguise themselves to trick the characters into the move they wanted them to make, physically trip them up to give the opponent a better standing. In the movie the gods had no visible role they were more of a believe system and a thought process. The characters believed that there were signs from the gods letting them know how to proceed.
An example of this is when determining wither to go into battles after a farmer saw a sparrow with a snake in its talons. The examples that will be used are the relationships between Agamemnon and Achilles; Hector and Achilles; and Achilles and Prium. The information shown will show not only the differences in the interactions of the gods, specifically Zeus, Hera, Athena, Apollo, and Thetis, but how the lack of interaction changed the story slightly.
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The scene in both versions of the argument between Agamemnon and Achilles is very different from the written hero epic of the Iliad to the modern day Hollywood movie of Troy. In the Iliad the gods played a more active role in the argument between the two men than in the movie Troy where there was no direct interaction outside of Thetis prophecy to her son at the beginning where she informed him he would be remembered for his greatness if he went to war or he could stay home be loved. If he chose to stay home his name would be forgotten after a few generations.
The argument in the Iliad began after Chryseis’s father the priest of Apollo’s temple approached Agamemnon with a “rich ransom” to beg for the return of his daughter in the name of the far shooting Apollo and was refused. This angered Apollo so the god began to use the hatred between the two men to create dissention that allowed the death of numerous Greeks. Apollo shot the men, mules and dogs with invisible arrows that carried disease that made them die after the priest had prayed to him asking to repay the Greeks for his sorrow. The book elaborates that so many died that for nine days the funeral pyres burned.
By the persuasion of Hera, Achilles called a council with the Greek leaders to suggest to Agamemnon that they should ask one of Apollo’s priests to tell them how they had angered the god and what they needed to do to appease Apollo to end the plague. Calchas who feared Agamemnon pleaded with Achilles to protect him if he told the council why Apollo was angry. After Achilles assured Calchas that no one would harm him he told them that Apollo was punishing the Greeks because of the dishonor Agamemnon had shown his priest by refusing the priest ransom and to return his daughter.
He said that until Chryseis had been returned to her father without any compensation the plague would continue. Agamemnon began to fuss about how he loved her but he would rather see the Greeks living than dead. If he were to give her up he expected to receive another “prize of war” for he couldn’t be the only man without one especially since he was the greatest of all Greeks. This is when Achilles pointed out that everything has already been distributed and it wouldn’t be right to take away from someone what he had been given.
If he would give Chryseis back to her father that the best of the spoils would be given to him first. Agamemnon then threatened to take Achilles, Ajax or Odysseus’s prize of honor by force in retribution for the release of Chryseis. Achilles became angry at the dishonor that Agamemnon was showing him as the greatest warrior in Greece. The men argued until the point that Agamemnon got so angry he said he then decided that because Apollo had taken Chryseis from him he would take Briseis from Achilles to prove to everyone else they should never argue with him or think they were equal to him.
As Achilles decided if he was going to kill him for the slight he had just been given Hera sends Athena to him to calm his anger. She talks Achilles into using his words to fight Agamemnon instead of his sword. To obey the gods Achilles verbally lashes him calling him a drunkard and a coward who stays behind the fight letting other men die while he reaps the glory because he feared death even though he will take the prize of any man that disagrees with him. He will not fight any more and that Agamemnon has brought the destruction of the Greek army on himself for failing to honor the best of the Greek warriors.
He would give up Briseis because it was Agamemnon that gave her to him but if he touched anything else of his he would kill him. Achilles gave up Briseis to Agamemnon’s men telling them that one day they would need his help for their leader didn’t know how to see how his actions affected everyone. In the movie of Troy after taking the beach outside of the city of Troy Achilles is given Briseis as his prize of honor the leaders met together giving gifts to Agamemnon. Achilles spoke to the king telling him that he had won a victory that day.
Agamemnon told him that he had won the beach of Troy from Prium that morning, that history remembers kings not warriors and even though he was there to fight for the continuation of his name his wouldn’t be the one who was remembered. Achilles tells him to be careful because he needs to win the war first. Agamemnon recounts that Achilles men had taken the temple of Apollo. Achilles tells him that he can take all of the gold for himself it was his gift as much as he wants to honor him. Instead of gold Agamemnon took Briseis from Achilles.
Achilles began to fight for her and she demands he stop and walk away cursing him. Agamemnon taunts him that he was silenced by a slave girl that he will have her bathe him. Achilles tells him that before the war is over he will look over his dead body and smile. He refuses to fight in the upcoming battle unless it threatens his own ships. Prium hears of a sparrow flying with a serpent in his mouth that was a sign of the gods that they would see victory the next day. After a fight with Paris Menelaus is killed by Hector to save the life of his brother, Agamemnon is told to give back Briseis.
He had given Briseis to his men Achilles saves her by fighting the other men. The next day he decided to leave for Phthia. After the death of Patroclus and of Hector the scene where Prium went to Achilles to beg for the return of Hectors body after his death contrasts between the Iliad and the movie Troy. In the Iliad Achilles was infuriated when Patroclus died he felt no compassion for any Trojan and even less for Hector who not only killed his dearest friend also stole the armor off of his body to wear for himself.
Hector ran around the walls of the city with Achilles chasing him to fight. Athena tricked Hector by appearing as his brother Deiphobus telling him they would go fight Achilles together. When Hector came face to face with Achilles his brother was nowhere to be found. Hector knew immediately that he had been tricked by the gods and was killed during battle. Achilles strung up Hector by running leather straps between his punctured heels, dragging him behind his chariot many times after the men stabbed him with their spears. Apollo preserved his body from the abuse of the Mycenaean soldiers.
He also convinced Zeus, Hera and Athena that Achilles shouldn’t be able to continue the abuse of Hectors body. The gods sent Thetis to speak to her son to tell him that he should give Hectors body back to the Trojans. Meanwhile Hermes went to Prium and brought him to speak to Achilles. Prium brought gifts as ransom for payment for his son’s body. Achilles was surprised at the old man’s courage to come and face him alone. Prium spoke to him of his father that as long as he was still alive his father had a reason for joy. That he had fifty sons that he and Ares had killed the best of them.
He asked for pity for being in the place to beg the man who had killed so many of his sons. Achilles then begins to cry in sympathy saying that “the deathless gods spin threads of mortals’ lives to bring them grief, while the gods themselves live free of pain. ” How Zeus sits between two urns one evil and one good giving out gifts from the urns sometimes good, sometimes evil. He asked him to sit with him to put away their tears. Prium says he cannot sit with the man who killed his son while the body of his son lay outside on the earth.
Achilles yells telling him he will be giving him his son’s body because the gods decreed it. Afterwards he gives Prium Hectors body and calls a halt to the war for eleven days so they could hold a proper funeral. In the movie Troy, Patroclus was Achilles cousin who had decided to lead the Mycenaean’s into battle without Achilles knowledge was killed in a battle where Hector thought he was fighting Achilles. When he realized he had killed Patroclus, who was a child he called a halt to the fighting allowing for his body to be taken to be placed on the funeral pyres.
The fight between Hector and Achilles was one on one. Achilles called him out of his castle walls, after saying good bye to his family and friends he went out to meet Achilles in battle with courage knowing he would probably die. He asked Achilles to give one another the honor of being given to their people for proper burial. Achilles responded with lions do not make deals with sheep. He took off his helmet so Hector would know who he was fighting. The battle began ending with Achilles the victor killing Hector. Hectors body had a leather strap sewn through his heels so he could be drug away from the castle.
Prium went to Achilles tent to ask for his son’s body back. When he walked in Achilles asked him “who are you? He said I have endured what no man on earth has ever endured before I kiss the hands of the man who killed my son. ” Achilles realizes that is Prium in his tent. He asks him how did he get there and was told “I think I know my own country better than the Greeks. ” Achilles tells him that he is a very brave man to come to see him alone he could kill him. The answer given was after seeing my son killed and his body drug away by a chariot I no longer fear death. Give me back my son he deserves a proper burial you know that. ” Achilles accused Hector of killing his cousin. The old king told him he thought it was you how many cousins, brothers, fathers, husbands have you killed. I cannot change what has happened it is the will of the gods but show mercy. Let me wash his body; place him upon a funeral pyres, place coins upon his eyes for the boat man.
Achilles lets him know that if he allows him to walk out of his tent nothing will change in the morning they will still be enemies. Prium says “you are my enemy tonight but even enemies can show respect. Achilles praises Prium that he admires his courage and he is a far better king then the man leading his army. He cry’s over Hectors body bidding him fair well until they meet soon he gives Hector back to Prium, gives him seven days without war and lets Briseis go free to return to Troy with Prium. The values of men at the time the Iliad was written were based on courage, strength, agility, the ability to protect what is theirs, loyalty of family, loyalty of country, honor, respect, praise to their gods, brutality and possessions. These possessions could be anything from land, gold, women and children as personal slaves.
At this time only the strongest survived and the weakest perished. This is why Agamemnon was chosen to be leader, Why Achilles was the most prized fighter and why when every city was sacked all of their belongings were divided among the higher ranked men of the army. The values of today’s society are much different we value love, relationships, freedom, equal rights, weakness to a degree and goodness of the heart. That is why the characters in the movie were in such deep love in the mist of battle. The men loved each other and took care of each other. The women were strong and played active roles in the stories.