300: More Fact than Fiction
“300” begins by setting the vivid stage of what was to become one of the most inspiring battles of Greek history. Leonidas, the Spartan “king,” is warned by messengers from the Persian empire to kneel before Xerxes, the Persian god-king, or to see his beloved Sparta be destroyed and it’s loyal people be captured as slaves. Leonidas denies these requests as a free man who will kneel to no one. Xerxes, seeing this as a threat to his newly established empire, wages war against Leonidas his city state of Sparta. As in any story there is a traitor, which only complicates Leonidas’ determination of staying a free Greek. Abiding by Spartan law, Leonidas consults the elders and the oracle and is told that the war he wishes to fight is forbidden by the gods. Leonidas refuses this fate and rounds up 300 of his Spartan soldiers and prepares for battle. The rest of the story is a bloodbath fueled by determination and glory. Leonidas and his 300 do not make it out alive, but their story and their honor live on. The last scene of the film shows the newly rounded Spartan morals ready to continue to fight for the freedom and the country they love.
Zack Snyder, in my opinion, is trying to sell the idea of “death before dishonor” as one point in “300.” Even though the Spartans knew of their fate, they still held on to the values of glory and honor. They were fighting an army of incomprehensible size, yet still refused surrender or retreat for their fate. Leaving Leonidas as the backbone of Sparta and depicting that he would die for any of his men or for Greece itself is very evident in showing the idea of honor. Snyder also does a fine job of expressing that every group will have a traitor or two who cannot hold up to the idea of honor or respect. Another relevant point that is coming across in “300” is the idea of “freedom isn’t free.” The queen of Sparta even uses this exact phrase when speaking to the council. The realization that everything...
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