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By Catherine Gaudio, Madison Brazan, Erica Rogers
Thetis and Achilles

Thetis telling Achilles of his fate if he goes to the war in Troy.

Troy is an action film made in 2004 loosely based off of Homer's epic war poem, The Iliad.

Plot Edit

The film starts out with two large armies getting ready to fight. The armies are led by King Agamemnon of Mycenae against King Triopas of Thessaly. The kings negotiate a one on one battle between their greatest warriors. Triopas chooses a large warrior and Agamemnon chooses a young man, Achilles. Achilles wins with ease.

The film transitions to Sparta, where the sons of King Priam of Troy, Prince Hector and Prince Paris, are celebrating a treaty with the King of Sparta, Menelaus. Paris and Menelaus's wife, Helen, are having an affair and when Hector and Paris sail back to Troy, Paris reveals that he smuggled Helen onto the ship.

When Menelaus finds out, he is livid and goes to his brother, Agamemnon, who agrees to back Menelaus and fight Troy with him, where Agamemnon has always wanted to conquer. On the advice of King Nestor, rather than going and asking for Achilles to fight for him himself, he has King Odysseus of Ithaca, and Achilles's friend, ask on behalf of him. Achilles originally refuses because of his strong hatred of Agamemnon, but after talking with his mother, Thetis and being told that while he would die in the war, he will be remembered forever. He and his younger cousin, Patroclus, go join in Agamemnon's ranks.

Paris and Hector arrive in Troy and introduce Helen to King Priam. Though he is distressed at the fact that they brought her, he welcomes her as a guest rather than sending her home because he fears that Paris would follow her out of love and be killed by Menelaus. The Greeks soon arrive on the beaches of Troy and they begin to sack a temple of Apollo, however Hector and the other Trojans fall back. Achilles takes the beautiful maiden, Briseis, a priestess of Apollo and the cousin of Hector and Paris, as his war trophy. However, Agamemnon takes Briseis from him and in a fit of rage, Achilles decides he will not help Agamemnon take Troy.

To save more people from both sides dying, Paris and Menelaus agree to engage in one on one combat and avoid a war. Agamemnon is angered by this idea because he did not come for Helen, but for Troy itself. However, they accept the terms and Menelaus and Paris fight. Menelaus wounds Paris, almost killing him, but Paris begs Hector to save him, grasping his leg, and out of love for his brother, Hector kills Menelaus. With the agreement broken of one on one combat, Agamemnon leads his troops into battle against Hector and the Trojans, but the Greeks are forced to retreat.

To boost morale, Agamemnon gives Briseis to the soldiers to enjoy, but Achilles saves her after she's threatened with rape. He takes her back to his tent and the two fall in love. Achilles decides that the war is a lost cause and tells the men that they're leaving in the morning to go home. Priam, on the advice of the speaker of the gods and against the advice of Hector, decides to have the troops attack the Greeks in the middle of the night. The attack brings the Greeks together and they fight back, a man in Achilles's armor leads Achilles's troops and fights one on one with Hector. Hector gets the upper hand and kills who he thinks is Achilles, but it is soon revealed that it was actually Patroclus. Both armies stop fighting as they look at the young man who has died for this war and agree on a temporary truce for the rest of the day. Achilles is told of his cousin's death by the hands of Hector and almost kills the man who told him, vowing revenge on Hector. Knowing that Achilles won't stop till he is dead, Hector takes his wife, Andromache, and shows her a secret tunnel she should escape to with their child if he dies.

Achilles and Hector fight in single combat and Achilles wins, dragging Hector's body around Troy to humiliate the fallen prince. In the night, Priam risks his life to go to Achilles and begs for his son's body back. Seeing the king's grief, Achilles agrees and gives Briseis back to Priam to take home as well. Achilles and Priam agree on a twelve day truce to honor the dead and then Achilles, knowing he will not make it out of this war alive, tells his men to leave Troy.

When he learns of Achilles's actions, Agamemnon is enraged and Odysseus, worried for the safety of the men, comes up with a plan to take Troy. They build a giant wooden horse from boat parts and pretend to have left Troy, hiding their ships in the cove and getting inside of the wooden horse. When Priam sees the horse, he believes it's truly a gift from the Greeks and orders it to be taken into the city, despite Paris disagreeing. During the night, the men get out of the horse and begin to sack Troy. Helen and Andromache start to get people out of the city through the passageway and Paris, fearful of losing his life, gives a sword of Troy to a young man, Aeneas, and tells him to lead the Trojans to a new home. Paris leaves to protect the city. Agamemnon kills Priam, but is soon killed by Briseis. Achilles looks everywhere for Briseis and as he finds her, Paris shoots him with arrows everywhere, including the heel. Achilles dies, but as his final wish, he begs Briseis to leave Troy. Paris, Briseis, Andromache, and Helen, as well as Aeneas and other Trojans escape Troy and begin searching for a new home while the Greeks have funerals for the fallen soldiers and Achilles is cremated by Odysseus.

Background to the Film Edit

Troy is based on the Epic Greek war poem, The Iliad by the blind poet, Homer. The poem is thought to have been written in 800 BCE and was based on the myth of the Trojan war, a ten year long war between the Trojans and the Greeks.

Differences Between the Film and the Iliad Edit

Timing:

The poem actually starts a few weeks before the Trojan war ends, in medias res which means "in the middle" of the story, while the movie begins even before the problem with Paris taking Helen to Troy. This was because while the ancient Greeks would have been able to tell you the entire story of the Trojan War, modern audiences are less familiar with the details and therefore needed to have the story told to them.

The movie also ends with Achilles dying and the Trojans escaping while the poem ends with Hector's death and the twelve day truce, not ever actually going into the Trojan Horse and Achilles's death. Once again, this was necessary because the audience wouldn't know what was going to happen and therefore the movie couldn't end with questions still needing to be answered.

Quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles

The quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles in the movie has no real depth. In the movie, Achilles seems to hate Agamemnon first simply because he doesn't like being ordered around and doesn't see Agamemnon as a good king, but just as war hungry, and then because Agamemnon takes Briseis away from him. However, in the poem, it wasn't about love or being a bad king, but honor. Achilles is given Briseis for the good job he's done in the war and she symbolizes his glory and his honor. Agamemnon takes her away and claims her as her own when he's forced to give up his own war prize. Therefore, Achilles feels his honor and glory was taken from him.

Romances:

Achilles and Briseis: Achilles and Briseis are seen to be in love and to deeply care for her. When she's taken from him, Achilles is worried about her and saves her from being raped and even gives her up to save her. When the city is sacked, he risks his life to look for her and save her. Yet, in the poem, it's never shown that he has any true affection for her beyond a concubine.

Achilles and Patroclus: Who Achilles does have true affection for, is Patroclus. While Patroclus is shown to be his cousin in the film, in the poem they are companions and lifelong friends, and possibly something more. Historians, ancient and modern alike, have argued whether the two of them were simply extremely good friends or lovers, as that was not uncommon in Ancient Greece. Patroclus was also older than Achilles, not younger. Most likely, the director, Petersen, chose to take away any possible romantic subplot between the two and made them cousins. He possibly did this because the two of them weren't the focus of the story as well as to avoid controversy.

Helen and Paris: One of the biggest questions about Ancient Greek mythology is whether Helen and Paris were truly in love and Helen ran away to Troy with Paris or if she was kidnapped with no true choice. In this film, the two are lovers and Helen runs away with him in response to her cheating and emotionally abusive husband, Menelaus.In the Iliad, it's unsure whether she's here willingly, but it seems that she is at least partially, however, like Helen, Paris is married to a nymph. In some myths, when Paris is dying, Helen goes to Paris's wife and begs her to save him, showing her love for the man. The largest issue of the relationship, aside from the fact that both parties are married, is the fact that the reason Paris has Helen was because he was promised the most beautiful woman in the world, which happened to be Helen, by the goddess Aphrodite in exchange for choosing her as the fairest goddess. Therefore, she was always meant to be Paris's.

Deaths:

Menelaus: Menelaus dies at the hand of Hector while battling Paris, however in the poem, Menelaus doesn't die at all. He actually survives and plans to kill Helen for all of the deaths that she caused, but reconsiders when he sees her again and how beautiful she is. He takes her back to be his wife, however in Homer's other poem, The Odyssey, there does seem to still be some resentment in the marriage.

Agamemnon: Agamemnon dies at the hand of Briseis, but he also survives the war. He isn't killed until he comes home and is killed by his wife and her lover.

Achilles: While Achilles doesn't die in the actual poem, he does die in the myth and at the hands of Paris, just like in the film. However, it isn't multiple arrows that kill him, but one through the ankle because Achilles is supposedly invulnerable except for that one place. The directors and producers decided that they wanted this to be a war story rather than a fantasy one and therefore took out the idea of Achilles being immortal away, even having Achilles say that if he was immortal, he wouldn't need armor.

Paris: While, like Achilles, Paris doesn't die int he actual poem, Paris is killed in the myth. He's killed by Herculus's good friend, Philoctetes and does not get to leave Troy with Aeneas.

The Gods:

In the Iliad and the myth of the Trojan War, the gods are extremely involved. The Judgement of Paris, where Paris chooses Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess in exchange for Helen, is what starts the Trojan War in the first place. When Paris and Menelaus are fighting and he's about to kill Paris, it isn't Hector who saves Paris, but Aphrodite by transporting him back to his room. The gods actually trick Patroclus while he's fighting Hector to give Hector the advantage. Finally, the arrow that shoots Achilles in the ankle is either actually shot by Apollo, disguised as Paris or is shot by Paris and is guided by Apollo to kill Achilles. Either way, Paris didn't do it by himself. However, the movie was meant to be a war movie and not meant to be a fantasy so the director and screen writer deliberately chose to only have the gods referenced by the characters rather than actually part of the movie.

Making the film Edit

A major part of making the movie was by the cameras that they used and the techniques and technology that they used to get the shots they needed. By using prism lenses, a gifted cinematographer could create the illusion of an even larger crowd. With the development of optical compositing, directors managed to achieve the effect in a much more convincing way. A crowd of 1,000 could be created on film by combining five plates of 200 extras.

For the scene with Achilles and his men were running on the beach to get the perfect angle they suspended a camera on a cable and as they were running the camera was moving down the cable in front of them.

With MPC deep immersed into epic battles and antique cities, the task of recreating the allied armada and its landing was assigned to Frame store CFC, London. The 130 shots were supervised by Jon Thum: The pullback on the armada at sea was our most difficult shot. There are only two real ships in the shot; the rest is completely digital matte painting and computer works’. We built them as modular creations, each model combining elements taken among five different hulls, five rows, and about one hundred sails. By combining these elements, we managed to create a whole armada in which every ship looked different. At the end of the shot, there are about 800 ships in the frame. If you count in the units that are out of frame, you get an armada of 1,000 ships.

Themes and Interpretations Edit

Throughout the film, there are many themes that can be seen throughout the film. There are themes of honor, love, revenge, and power that can be seen. Though there are many themes, I think it can add a confusing element to the movie because it hinders the proceeding of the film in a way in which the audience does not know which character to root for.

Honor:

The theme of honor is apparent throughout the film, for example, the character Paris wants to prove his worth by fighting his own battle against Menelaus, but when things don't go the way Paris planned, he relies on his brother Hector to save him. There was some redeeming quality for the character Paris when he decided to fight his own battle, but instead it made him look like a coward for running away from his problems, this is what makes Paris an unlikable character throughout the film.

Love:

The movie starts with the love between the characters of Paris and Helen, which lead to the demise of the city Troy. Though in the movie they leave together because they are in love, but in a way, I think we can interpret this as being weak and selfish. They put the whole city of Troy at risk because of their love for each other. The theme of love can also be seen in the reaction of Achilles when his cousin is killed by Hector. This is significant because this is the first time we see emotion of love being evoked from Achilles. This also shows Achilles being venerable for the first time and we can feel the loss of his loved one in the film.

Revenge:

Troy shows the theme of revenge in three major ways. One is when Menelaus wants to have his revenge on Helen by killing Paris for leaving him. Another interpretation of revenge is when Achilles kills Hector for killing his cousin Patroclus. This leads to the end of Achilles life when Paris kills Achilles as revenge for killing his brother Hector.

Power:

In the end, this movie is all about power and the effort the people make to maintain it. For example, Agamemnon wants to take control of the city Troy, and when given the opportunity, he takes control of the situation and starts a war with Troy. Given that he has one of the most powerful fighter (Achilles) he has nothing to fear, except for Achilles himself. Since Agamemnon fears Achilles, that proves how powerful presence he is in the film.

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