The Gods Left
Missing pieces of history cast shadows of mystery over the Trojan War. For thousands of years, writers and artists have never stopped their obsession with this legendary past of myths and history. One of the greatest woks is Homer’s epic, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Following Homer, poets created a series of epic, with the background of the Trojan War, and these different epic works constitute a systematic epic group, the Epic Cycle. Inspired by Homer’s the Iliad, Director Wolfgang Petersen created his colossal battle epic film, Troy. Though keeping esteem towards the original plot, Troy tells the story from a new perspective. As a modern film in this century, Petersen’s Troy tries to illustrate this piece of history from the angle of human nature.
The Iliad and Troy
If the Trojan War is a true historical fact, oral and written materials with "innovations" unavoidable from generation to generation have made it an informative and colorful story, full of myths and legends. The Iliad by Homer, dating back to 760–710 BC, describes the activities in the last several weeks in the tenth (final) year of the Trojan War. It begins with the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon and ends with Hector's funeral. The background and the final outcome of the story are not directly described in the Iliad. As the latest adaptation film, Troy, though in the spirit of Homer, is not a direct translation of the Iliad. Troy, focusing on the heroes and their emotions, depicts the whole story from the human nature under the modern lens.
The reason for the war. Looking back to Troy, we can figure out that the glory of the gods has gone whereas the greed of human comes. Wolfgang Petersen, the director of Troy, states this point through Agamemnon’s words: Helen is just an excuse. Apart from Agamemnon’s words, the well-known gold apple disappeared in the film. The traces of gods only appear as gentle hints like Achilles’s ankle.
The film not only eliminates the trace of the gods in the reason for the war, it also conveys certain values through the reason. In the Iliad, each side of the war has reasons with enough justice to start the war. For the Greek alliance, they fight for their ally, whose king has lost his beautiful wife. For Trojans, people fight for their common home and the genuine love between their prince and Helen. Different from the Iliad, Troy creates the character Agamemnon, fat and pugnacious, as a powerful invader. Through the conversions between Agamemnon and other characters, his arrogance and greed appear without cover. Apparently, King Agamemnon is no longer a valiant “King of Kings” as he was in the Iliad, but a villain in the film. Therefore, with the film’s guide, the audience regards the Trojan War as an unjust invasion simply resulting from Agamemnon’s own desire.
The attitude towards the gods. To stress the heroes’ characteristics, the film alters the heroes’ attitude towards the gods from respect to ignorance, even disdain,...