Aquino, Adrienne Dawn A.
08-10664, BA Sociology
Prof. L.R. Tope Eng 12
Comparison Paper on the Book Iliad and Film Troy
On the Plot The plot of the book and the film has a very big difference especially on its coverage and focus. The coverage of the film starts all the way from why the Trojan-Greeks conflict started up to the death of Achilles and the fall of Troy. While on the other hand, the book' onset is narrowed down to the ninth year of the Trojan war wherein the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon is intensifed. Aside from this the book ends the epic in the change of Achilles character. From the difference of the said coverage, it can be derived that the focus of the book is on the wrath of Achilles being resolved, while the film is the settlement of the conflict of the Trojans and Greeks. Even if the film's focus is on a more general conflict, our hero Achilles is not totally thrown off the periphery. He still is a very important character in the story. The direction of the war became dependent on his participation. The film is also very compressed and comprehensive. And to fit everything into place, some twists on the characters was made (which will be discussed in On the Characters). An example would be Briseis who was used to display the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon. She is also used to put into story why he changed his character in the near ending, like forgetting about the glory of war, letting the Myrmidons save themselves and sail home, and most important is the plotting of his death. Other differences could be accounted on the change of audience. The audience of Iliad (Homer's audience, the Acheans, etc.) and modern audience of the film is culturally miles apart. Some of the results are changes of setting, cutting off too many repeated wars, less mythological appearances (will be discussed on The Themes), shortening of the characters profiling. The films setting is limited by of course production budget, the Trojan land (beach, walls of troy, battlefield in front of city walls) lost the books' rivers, mountainside, Mt Oympus settings, etc. The wars that took place in the film was also limited to battles that inflicts significant turn of the plot like, the encounter that yields the Greeks Briseis, the battle without Myrmidons, the battle that slew Patroclus and that which caused the fall of Troy. Again, one of the reason is budget and aside from that is audience. Modern audience will be bored with scenes that are insignificant to the general outcome. Lastly, the long charcter profiling would probably bore the audience but in Homer's case it will just stir his audiences' emotion once their place is mentioned, bringing up their honorable heritage.
On the Characters One of the most significant change in character happened to Briseis. From a plain priestess from Khryse, she was converted as Hector's cousin. Changes made to her was strategic to make the film comprehensive of all significant events. We know that the wrath of Achilles is unleashed after the “Briseis incident”, this incident is used by the book and film very differently. The book used the taking away of Briseis as a symbol that Achilles' share of a victory from war is being robbed from him, thus injures his pride and insists that he should get his due. He also makes it heard that Agamemnon doesn't deserve greater rewards because he has least risk at stake. But in the film, (though part of the reason is still he deserves Briseis because his team got her) it is more of it is Briseis per se that Achilles wants. There has been an emotional involvement in the film. It can be supported by scenes wherein Achilles desired to leave the battle behind and forget about the “glory” after what happenned between him and the Trojan royalty (wherein in the book he wanted to live a simple life that is why he decides to sail home but of course the reason to see Agamemnon fall is still included). This shows that she became the key to his change in character. He even said it himself at the end, when he told Briseis “You showed me peace in a lifetime of war”. He also asked the Myrmidons to save themselves and sail home while he chose to stay behind. His stay is meant to save Briseis from the fall of Troy as the film has showed and once again the Trojan priestess was used to put into story Achilles' death. Another is the roles of the gods. In the film the mythological side was limited to omens, compared to the book where they almost control the turnout of the mortals' clash. Other changes are rather less significant and I think was just made to sharpen the drama of the film. In the book, Paris has always been on the battlefield but with a brew of cowardice, it also showed how the early period looks on cowardice. He is usually chastised by Hector and Helen. But the film made Hector more of a loving brother always ready to fight for his brother and Hector's death caused Paris to be brave and took responsibility of defending Troy and their family. On the film, Agamemnon was very fierce and arrogant, he never initiated agreement with Achilles unlike in the book. He never accepts defeat unlike in the book wherein he even cried and suggested to sail back home. Another significant character is Patroclus who in the book is just a close friend of Achilles while on the film he is his cousin which gives the reason of Achilles' outrage on his death. From the start it has always been emphasized how protective Achilles is as an Uncle. Lastly, the survivor Aeneas who carried the continuity of Troy as a race. In the film, his existence was not totally integrated, he was just a simple villager whom Paris entrusted the sword of Troy. While in the book he is a great fighter qualified to really be the next protection of Trojans.
The Themes The book showed the connection of the mythological disputes in the changes in the war. They even appear in the battlefields and engage in petty arguments with other gods. But in the film the story is modernized in the sense that magical parts are deleted. Like the talking horses in book 19, the armors that has an aura of their own and the likes. The mythology has been limited to omens and temples only. The book and the film also celebrates war. The importance of the people were measured in their valuability in the battlefield. It can also be seen how the heroes became mightier in sacrificing long life with their love ones for the glory of dying in the battlefield. It is demonstrated by Achilles and Hector. Though Hector know that he will be killed he still faced Achilles in spite his want to stay with Andromache and watch Astyanax grow handsome. Achilles also chose the glory and honor the great war will give him despite his knowledge that it will also be his doom.