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The Depiction of the Trojan War and the Trojan Horse by the Movie “Troy” (2004)

By inspyrred Nov 14, 2010 895 Words
BY: MA. ROSELLE PAULINE PERALTA

The movie “Troy” which was released in 2004 was a fairly remarkable movie. However, the scene starting with the Trojan Horse being found by the Trojans and ending with Troy being sacked had lacked effectiveness. This may be due to insufficient details delivered throughout the whole movie. It may be a disappointment if one decides to look at the accuracy of the movie’s depiction of the stories of Homer’s The Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. Both poems are known to be accountable written sources that go way back many centuries ago, having described the Trojan Horse and the events of the Trojan War. Even an ancient Greek – if one were to watch the 21st century film, – will be a little dismayed on how different and slightly vague the movie was from the written history they know. There were many characters known to have been present in the Trojan War that were not introduced in the film. One of them was the Greek warrior Sinon. In The Odyssey and Aeneid, Sinon was the one who tricked the Trojans into believing that the Greeks had tried to sacrifice him and that he had succeeded to escape from them. He managed to convince the Trojans to take the wooden horse with them inside the walls of Troy. In Book II of Aeneid, Sinon tells them: That, if you violate with hands profane. Minerva's gift, your town in flames shall burn. But if it climb, with your assisting hands, the Trojan walls, and in the city stands.

Another character that was absent from the scene was Laocoön: the Trojan priest who thew a spear at the Trojan Horse. Once again, found in Book II of Virgil’s Aeneid, Laocoön says, “Men of Troy, trust not the horse. Whatever it be, I fear the Greeks, even when bringing gifts.” In “Troy”, it was Paris who had anxiety with regards to accepting the Greek’s offering. It is most likely that Laocoön’s role was passed on to Paris just to make Paris’ character a little nobler to the audience after the embarrassment he had gained during his fight with Menelaus in “Troy”. Gods and Goddesses were highly regarded by the Ancient Greeks .They played a role in many epic poems written by Greek historians and Greek poets. In the story of the Trojan War, as re-told by Aeneas in Virgil’s Aeneid, the goddess Minerva – also known as Athena – aided the Greeks with the strategy they used against the Trojans, known as the Trojan Horse. In most written accounts like The Odyssey, it was stated that Athena – being Odysseus’ protector – was the one who gave Odysseus the idea of building the Trojan Horse. However, in “Troy” there was not a single god or goddess that has partaken. It was a fellow Greek warrior who was carving a wooden horse toy that gave Odysseus the concept of the great Trojan Horse. The last line from Book VIII of Homer’s The Odyssey stated, “There it was, he said, that Odysseus braved the most terrible fight and in the end conquered by the aid of great-hearted Athena.” One other big difference from the written sources – mainly from Homer’s epic poems - to the motion picture was Achilles’ and Menelaus’ time of death. Achilles was long dead before the Trojan Horse had gotten inside the walls of Troy. It is told in the Aethiopis – the lost epic by the ancient Greek writer Arctinus of Miletus – that sometime right after Achilles had killed the Ethiopian king and warrior Memnon in the Trojan War, Achilles meets his time of death. He was killed by Paris, who had shot an arrow at Achilles’ heel with the help of the god Apollo. In “Troy”, Achilles still got to go inside the Trojan Horse before he was killed by Paris. In the case of Menelaus, he was killed right off in the movie, even before Achilles kills Hector; even far longer before the Trojan Horse was built. In “Troy”, he was killed during his fight with Paris. However, it was Hector who had killed him before Menelaus could kill Paris. But in The Odyssey, Menelaus survived the Trojan War and got to return home after getting stranded in Egypt for seven years. In Book IV of The Odyssey, Menelaus was visited by Odysseus’ son, Telemachus. Menelaus tells him how he was fond of Odysseus. He also tells him a bit about the night Troy was sacked, “What a thing was this, too, which that mighty man wrought and endured in the carven horse, wherein all we chiefs of the Argives were sitting, bearing to the Trojans death and fate!” Having left out a lot of main points from many written accounts of the history of the Trojan War, the movie was not able to surpass the story as told by ancient poets like Homer and Virgil. Having said that, it only reflects how an epic poem like The Odyssey that goes back many centuries ago, can never be compressed in to two and a half hours in the big screen and expect it to be nearly as good and accurate as it was from the books. The story of the Trojan War and the greatness of both the Greek and the Trojan warriors can never be relived.

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