HOMER VS PETERSON!!! ROUND TWO! (CONCLUSION)

(Please read my other posts before this one, and If printing this, please include my seperate page “Bibliography”, and scroll down to load all my posts before printing too)

And there back up! Yes folks that’s right! Two time winner of the global classical world tournament Homer the poet is back up and wild for some payback! And in the right corner we have the amazing, the astounding, the clinically stable, we have Woooolfgannng Petersoooonnn!!!!!!!!!!

Me being strange

Ok, So I said earlier that I wouldn’t post any more bizarre acts of humor, Well, this is more outrageous than bizarre if you ask me. But yes, It is time for the end of this long series of large text blocks, and It is time to do my final sum up. The Iliad and Troy are two very different texts, however, although with many differences, ideas and relationships between characters still linger in the modern interpretation of the classical epic. The modern film Troy has stuck to the basic goals and ideas of the Iliad however bringing with it brand new themes and ideas and emphasizing on the love and wrath shared between different characters. They were two texts written for different audiences, and thus a change in plot, removal of divine intervention and emphasis on empathy is necessary in order to satisfy a more modern audience. I hope that I have kept you entertained whilst indulging my blog. And I hope that the magic that is classics has once again revitalized every single cell in your body πŸ˜€ ! ….(ALL OF THEM)….

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“Recognition of limitations of sources of evidence”

I’ve written too much to be any more creative then that, So there you go ‘o’ majestic reader of the internet!

If the title didn’t explain itself, READ IT AGAIN. But yes, this post is where I must recognize the limitations I am faced with when searching for evidence. “I, Joshua Paul Jackson, Hereby recognize the limitations of my sources of evidence!” …Not what you were looking for? Ok, I’ll get serious now then. I’ll start with the Iliad. The Iliad is an epic text kept stored in the ancient manuscripts of Greek history. One major restriction I am faced with because of this, is actually acquiring a copy of these original texts, and even then, I do not speak the Homeric Greek language the text was written in. Because of this, I am forced to rely on the translation of others and their various interpretations of the Iliad. This limits me to the point where I cannot directly quote the Iliad rather I must quote the English translation of it provided by someone else instead. (I have obtained said translation from the following website thus far “http://www.theoi.com/“). So that’s that one out of the way. It is also limiting in that Homeric Greek is an ancient language and to understand Homer’s particular dialect of said language must take years of practice and so even the most experienced of translators may still make minor mistakes.

Now I move on to the film Troy. The key limitation I can think of here is that, I do not actually have a copy of the film. This means that I have to rely on my first viewing and the deep analysis of many other websites. Now I’m not saying I’ve copied these, but rather I’ve based my perspective upon those of many other viewers of the film. However, I am not completely without evidence, the video upload site “Youtube” has indeed provided me with various links to snippets of the film be it not the whole 3 hours. So I have been able to base my evidence from direct links to the film as well as my first viewing.

That sums up this post! Until next time πŸ˜€

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Cultural Expectations and stuff like that!!!

Hmm yes, very formal, err-hem yes where was I… Ah that’s it! Cultural Expectations in the Iliad and Troy.

In the texts Troy and the Iliad, there were certain standards that each character was expected to live accordingly to. These included funeral rights and for heroes, the code of honor. These were valued ethics that all were expected to live to. But lets start out with funeral rights for now. In ancient Greece, Funeral rights are very important. Every fallen man has a right to be buried and treated with as much respect as any other soldier, some more than others (e.g famous heroes or members of royalty), and the omission of these rights was considered an insult to humanity itself. These rights are important for a soul must pay the ferryman Charon 2 coins if he wishes to be taken to the Acherusian lake and linger there until they drink from oblivion and are reborn. Without these, the soul wanders the underworld feeling no pain and no happiness. A soul must also be buried otherwise even with payment a soul cannot enter the land of the dead. In both texts, It is well known that Achilles, driven by his wrath, tied the corpse of Hector to his wagon and drove it several times around the walls of Troy. This leaves Hector possibly “Blind death and dumb” as Achilles phrased it and unable to pass unto the land of the dead in mythology. This is an act of absolute rage and brutally defies the traditional funeral rights of the ancient Greeks. This event is a major symbolization of the wrath of Achilles, but in both texts, Achilles is brought to tears by a weeping Priam who visits Achilles at night and begs for Hectors body. To make Priam beg alone for Hectors body clearly shows how important the respect of funeral rights were and also the Heroes code as at any point in his visit, Achilles could have ended the life of Priam and settled the war once and for all. Priam in the film says “You’re still my enemy tonight. But even enemies can show respect.” emphasizing on the importance of honor in the film.

Charon the Ferryman

This brings me on to the code of honor in the two texts. The code of honor is possibly the most highly valued code in the times of the Homeric heroes. It was believed that without honor, life is meaningless. I shall briefly go over the code of honor based on several sources now. Honor is gained through life threatening situations, a hero cannot maintain honor by avoiding these. A hero must value Honor above their own life. Honor can be gained by courage, physical ability, social status, possessions and also the difficulty of a trial he or she faces.
Now there is a need to think about these and relate them to the characters of the Iliad and the film. Specifically the first two, (avoiding threatening situations and honor above life). Hector is a key supporter of this idea of “honor”. An example being in the Iliad where he has the choice to not fight Achilles and lose his honor, or fight him and leave his life in the hands of the gods, (Hector has the choice —) “to take cover within the walls and suffer Poulydamas’ censure for not having done so immediately; to kill Achilles in combat, man to man; or to shed his armor, approach Achilles, and talk things out by offering to return Helen along with Alexandros’ spoils” – Book 22. We see here how Hector had to obey the code if he wanted to maintain honor and chose to have honor over life. This took courage and with Hectors’ social status we can see he was a very honorable character.

Funeral

Another key supporter of this code of honor is obviously Achilles. Funeral rights may not be his cup of tea, but Achilles certainly cared about honor and immortality through memory. Achilles was never known to “chicken” (:D) out of challenging situations. Achilles always fought against his enemies and won each and every one of his battles (I wouldn’t consider Paris shooting him in the heel much of a battle). This gave him honor due to his courage, physical ability and how he never backed out of life threatening situations. In both texts, Thetis tells Achilles of how his “glory walks hand in hand with his doom”, and to verify this, in the Iliad Achilles says “β€˜For my mother Thetis the goddess of the silver feet tells me I carry two sorts of destiny toward the day of my death. Either, if I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans, my return home is gone, but my glory shall be everlasting; but if I return home to the beloved land of my fathers, the excellence of my glory is gone, but there will be a long life left for me, and my end in death will not come to me quickly.”. Achilles chooses glory over death and thus gains everlasting honor just as mentioned in the code.

And so, from this post, you can see how cultural expectations(funeral rights) and codes of behavior(honor) were very relevant to the production of these two epic works of fiction. That sums up this post, Until next time πŸ˜€

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Influences and Reasoning

(Yes, That is quite a boring title as far as I go isn’t it :O )

Troy was indeed heavily influenced by the Iliad, but It is also very different. As I have explained in my second post, the target audience for the Iliad was an ancient Greek society who often told the story of the Iliad in exchange for food and drink for a night. The audience targeted for the film Troy however is the modern audience expected to pay a small fee in exchange for 3 hours entertainment. The influence of the Iliad on Troy thus must be restrained to an extent in order to satisfy a more romantic audience. The Iliad’s main influence on the film was the story of Helen, the face that began a war. That was the films main influence in terms of plot. The characters remain the same throughout both texts, despite altering their personalities and the events surrounding them. The modern influence on the film can be seen as the more dominant feature as relationships and emotion seem to be more focused upon in Troy, you can see this between Paris and Helen who are deeply in love so much as to blind Paris, and also between Achilles and Briseis in their “love” (sex) scene where a good 1:24 minutes was taken out of the film for the sake of this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT7vL5cL-xE .
Such love scenes however are necessary in order to express how deeply in love two people are in a film, or at least this is the modern perception of love these days. (I won’t go into a deep philosophical debate about my views on “love” today sorry πŸ˜€ ). And so I believe I have made it very clear how the Iliad has and has not influenced Troy through expression of idea’s, characters and plot throughout my many posts.

But wait there’s more! (to discuss)
Peterson has made plenty of minor and major differences to the events of the Iliad. Although these are largely affected by theme, other factors must be taken into consideration for you to really understand his intentions, These are just some of few that I have come up with. Budget, This is one of the causes I think that has caused Peterson to hinder the length and density of his film from 24 poetic books and 10 years of battle history into 3 hours of solid film. There is simply too much to cover in the Iliad for Peterson to make a full film covering all of it. Peterson also shrunk the entire Trojan war from 10 years to 18 days in total. Budget is money, and without money you can’t pay workers and without workers, there is no film. So by spending more time filming small events unlikely to draw the plot line away more money is lost where it need not be. Troy’s budget was 177 million dollars and made a box office total of 497 million dollars, making it a very successful film.

You can see here how real-world factors are very relevant when it comes to the filming industry. The film could not of happened without money, and that money would be wasted without an appropriate audience targeted. That sums up this post (for now), until next time πŸ˜€

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So you’ve heard of him?

Hector of course, is my next target of analysis. I’ve already discussed themes that are portrayed through Hector, but again I feel the need to speak of him as a character all the same. Hector is known in both texts as a brave prince and the most skilled warrior of the Trojans. However, there are some key changes made to various events surrounding Hector that I believe need to be explained. IN THE ILIAD, Hector is still a brave warrior and prince, but tell me, would a brave prince really run around the walls of Troy three times in a terrified pledge for survival? “But trembling gat hold of Hector when he was ware of him, neither dared he any more abide where he was, but left the gates behind him, and fled in fear; and the son of Peleus rushed after him, trusting in his fleetness of foot” – Book 22 the Iliad. That’s right, Hector ran around the walls of Troy 3 times before Athena came to him in the form of Deiphobus and convinced him to rush at Achilles (and therefore die). Hector brave? His last actions say otherwise, or could this be considered wise not to challenge the wrath of Achilles, the strongest warrior in Greece? Athene says this to Hector just before he rushes into combat – “Dear brother, in sooth my father and queenly mother, yea, and my comrades round about me, besought me much, entreating me each in turn that I should abide there, in such wise do they all tremble before Achilles; but my heart within me was sore distressed with bitter grief. Howbeit now let us charge straight at him and do battle, neither let there be anywise a sparing of spears, to the end that we may know whether Achilles shall slay us twain, and bear our bloody spoils to the hollow ships, or whether he shall haply be vanquished by thy spear.”. Whether Hector was brave and wise or a coward is unclear here, but whether we should define a hero by his last few moments or not will ultimately answer this question of character.

Achilles kills Hector

As always, I shall now look at Hector from Peterson’s perspective. What makes Hector different in Troy, is that Hector is removed of all negative or undesirable traits, and the events that show these. I would provide an example with evidence, but what it is here is a lack of evidence that will explain the point I am making. Peterson’s Hector is a character of law, bravery, courage and morale. In the film, It would be inappropriate for such a character to act as cowardly or even selfishly as the Hector of the Iliad. As previously mentioned, the Hector of the Iliad runs around the walls of Troy several times, NOPE! Peterson doesn’t like this, It’s gone! In the Iliad, Hector chooses glory over family stating that battle was the only means of “winning my(his) father great glory.”. NOPE! Peterson doesn’t like it, IT’S GONE! When Achilles runs away from Glaucus in book 17 – “When he had thus spoken, Hector of the flashing helm went forth from the fury of war, and ran, and speedily reached his comrades not yet far off, hastening after them with swift steps,” and shows great cowardice not once but twice, Peterson doesn’t like it. IT IS GONE. Those are three of many acts of cowardice from Hector that Peterson did not include in the Iliad. This leads me on again to Peterson’s idea reality of war and how a cowardly Hector would not be suited for this ideal. One could argue that the reality is that war could break down men to do things like this, but Peterson chose a wise and brave character capable of gaining respect from the audience over this. His reasoning could perhaps be the work of one idea or several ideas all working to produce the same effect.

So you’ve heard of him, well now you’ve heard more! That wraps up my analysis of Hector, stay tuned for more, or untuned, I don’t really mind which you are as long as you read my blog πŸ˜€

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Homer vs Peterson Round 1!

And in the left corner, we have the mysterious poet, writer of epics, we have none other than Homer himself! Annnd in the right corner, we have Hollywood film director and nominee for multiple academy awards, it is Wolfgang—– Peterson!!!!!

Me being silly

Ok, Now tell me that wasn’t mildly amusing to see. But, Yes, In this post, It is a case of Peterson vs Homer in an all-out battle for classical themes and Idea’s. If you’ve read my post on Achilles, you will realize that the two authors shared relatively different Idea’s in their texts, however I have not discussed their ideas to their limits, so without further interruptions by bizarre acts of humor, I urge you to continue onward.

In Homer’s epic poem the Iliad, Homer shares ideas of; The glory of war, Military action over family life, and the transience of human life. The glory of war is an idea expressed through multiple events, an example being of the Trojan prince Paris. Paris is portrayed as a weak and somewhat cowardly character incapable of carrying his own weight in battle, (Eg when Aphrodite rescues him). In his duel with Menelaus at the end of book three, it was said that if the Trojans knew where he was, they wouldn’t hide him, this being “since he was hated among them all as dark death is hated”. The Trojans hated Paris simply because he was not as skilled as the other men of Troy, and the fact that he wields a bow emphasizes on his cowardliness. Many other things explain how Homer viewed warfare but glory was not his only take on how he viewed the war. Homer also expresses the need to choose war over family, constantly expressing heroes choosing glory over family. In the later books of the Iliad, Andromache begs Hector not to go to war, but Hector knows that fighting among enemies is the only way of “winning my(his) father great glory.”. This is the case for Achilles too. At one stage in the Iliad, Achilles contemplates returning home and living with his aging father Peleus, but instead chooses to remain in Troy, killing Hector, avenging Patroclus and thereby attaining eternal glory. Paris, again, is the opposite of these ideals. He chooses to spend most of his time in the war with Helen, and this only adds to his already obtained hatred from the Trojans.

Finally, the Idea of the pre-destined human death is also told in the Iliad. In book 6, Andromache speaks to Hector, saying “Ah, my husband, this prowess of thine will be thy doom, neither hast thou any pity for thine infant child nor for hapless me that soon shall be thy widow; for soon will the Achaean’s all set upon thee and slay thee. But for me it were better to go down to the grave if I lose thee, for nevermore shall any comfort be mine, when thou hast met thy fate, but only woes. Neither father have I nor queenly mother.” . This exemplifies perfectly the idea of destiny and the briefness of human life. In book 1, Calchas the seer predicts the actions of Apollo and the plague “but because of the priest whom Agamemnon dishonored, and did not release his daughter nor accept the ransom. For this cause the god who strikes from afar has given woes and will still give them. He will not drive off from the Danaans the loathsome pestilence, until we give back to her dear father the bright-eyed maiden, unbought, unransomed, and lead a sacred hecatomb to Chryse. Then we might appease and persuade him.”. This is another prediction of death and the fall of kingdoms. Homer tries to get the idea across that all humans are mortal, and that they should live their lives with honor, so that their names live forever.

Hector and Andromache

Now we get to the themes shown in the film Troy. In Troy, a major theme is the theme of love. It is love, that drives Paris to take Helen with him when returning to Troy, and it is love that begins the entire conflict of the Trojan war. In Troy, Petersen portrays Paris and Helen as if they live in their own world of romance, not caring in the slightest for the consequences of their relationship. When the battle of Troy rages on, Helen and Paris’s love still persists, and eventually it saves their lives as the two escape the ruined city of Troy in the end of the film. This theme of love persists throughout the whole film and is not present in the Iliad, where Helen does not escape Troy and is rather taken back by the alive Menelaus. Peterson changes many major events in the Iliad to cater for this theme and overall a modern audiences taste.

Although some may argue that the most definite theme in Troy is this one of love, some may also argue that the horror and reality of war is also the main theme in the film. This theme is thoroughly expressed through the character Hector, who will later be analysed. Hector is often shown as a brave character not afraid to share his views with figures of high power and royalty.At the beginning of the conflict between Troy and Greece, Agamemnon speaks with Hector and says “I have two wishes. If you grant them, no more of your people need die. First, you must give Helen back to my brother. Second, Troy must submit to my command, to fight for me whenever I call. ” to which Hector replies “You want me to look upon your army and tremble? Well I see them. I see 50,000 men brought here to fight for one man’s greed.”. Hector here, has identified the reality of what the conflict between the nations is and abruptly unmasked Agamemnon’s greed. He again says to Achilles “You speak of war as if it’s a game. But how many wives wait at Troy’s gates for husbands they’ll never see again? ” treating Achilles like a child playing a game and again identifying the truth behind warfare. It is interesting that Hector is the only character who shows these views in the film considering his character in the Iliad chose “winning glory for my(his) father” over staying with his wife and family, which would imply he had no desire for glory, but he did not do this. In the film, this choice occurs again, however Hector chooses battle not for glory, but for the protection of his country. Hector expresses the reality of war with crude exposure of itself and this in turn leads me to believe that the idea reality of war is another key theme expressed in Troy.

Wow! I wrote a lot here, but to sum it all up, It’s a double K.O . Both texts express equally powerful ideas with the ability to “knock each other out” when taken into the boxing ring of literature. The main ideas in the Iliad being; The glory of war, war over family, and the mortal human life. And the ideas of Troy being ones of love and the reality of war. That wraps up this battle, Until next round πŸ˜€

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Achilles

So I’ve talked a bit about Achilles and what he’s done, but I haven’t strictly analysed him as a character in each text yet. There are many key things to note when exploring the two different Achilles, but the main differences go as following. Homer’s Achilles in the Iliad is a mighty warrior with godly heritage, his mother being the sea-nymph Thetis and his father being the leader of the Argonauts who searched and found the legendary golden fleece. It is explained that he as a child was bathed by Thetis in the river Styx and this made his skin impenetrable to all but his heel (This later becomes his downfall). However, Peterson shows no sign of explaining this and in fact, Achilles speaks to a child that asks him if he is really immortal in the film. Achilles replies “I wouldn’t be bothering with the shield then, would I?”. It is then later proven that Achilles is not immortal/impenetrable as Paris shoots multiple arrows into Achilles’ chest which then leads to his death. Something else to note is that in the movie Achilles dies a lot later on the plot timeline then in the Iliad where Achilles did not live to see the Trojan horse massacre. In the film, Peterson makes it known Achilles’ desire for glory and bases his entire theme for the film around this idea. Achilles says things like “Get up, Prince of Troy! I won’t let a stone rob me of my glory! “, and when a messenger boy says “The Thesselonian you’re fighting… he’s the biggest man i’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t want to fight him. ” Achilles replies “Thats why no-one will remember your name.”. This clearly depicts Achilles’ lust for glory and it is later shown in the film how he actively tries to preserve this.

images (2)

In the Iliad, . The very first line of the Iliad hints towards this theme when Homer asks the muse to sing “wrath of Achilles.” . It is the theme of the wrath of Achilles. The Iliad tells the story of how Achilles’ wrath and rage is the one thing that kills him. It is not very clear whether Achilles desired glory or not in the Iliad, however Achilles did still choose to fight the Trojans even after the warning from Thetis “For my mother Thetis the goddess of the silver feet tells me I carry two sorts of destiny toward the day of my death. Either, if I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans, my return home is gone, but my glory shall be everlasting; but if I return home to the beloved land of my fathers, the excellence of my glory is gone, but there will be a long life left for me, and my end in death will not come to me quickly” . However, Achilles’ wrath is also shown when his mother warns him that his death is to follow Hectors and Achilles replies “Then let me die at once.”. Achilles still chose to die with glory rather than live with love. This leaves Achilles as a wrathful man whose desire for glory eventually kills him.

achilles_hektor2

To sum up, both Achilles, Homers’ and Peterson’, were two very similar characters, however the intentions of their authors still has an influence on their actions and therefore making them somewhat different at the same time. Until next time πŸ˜€

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