Hope Stewart

CLAS 430 – Greek and Roman Mythology
Prof. Stroup
Assignment #4
September 22, 2013
Theseus: Truth or Fiction
Immortals is loosely based on mythology surrounding Theseus. I use the term
“loosely” as it follows Theseus through a short period of time and there are only a
handful of actual supporting material that follow the real myth. What the screenwriter
did was almost exactly what we were given as our third assignment, to write an original
myth of our own with basis in classic myths. But back to the film, with the story the
writer’s came up with they took so many creative liberties. Over the next few
paragraphs I will cover each of these main differences.
This film seems to want to picture and emblemize Theseus as a
“Hercules/Heracles-esk” character. It seems as though in both film and original myth
they play out Theseus to be a more down to earth hero – much more relatable than that
of the mighty Heracles. Heracles is characterized as a hero that seems to be stuck on a
pedestal, a seemingly stuck up god.
The two that are the most fictionalized are Hyperion’s role in the story and that
of Epirus’s Bow. Hyperion is rarely mentioned in the Greek myths, but interestingly
enough he is one of the twelve Titans. So technically if the writers were to have
followed original mythology Hyperion should have been Mt. Tartarus with the other
Titans, not fighting against Theseus in the film. Speaking of the other Titans if we were
to follow exact mythology there would have been the original twelve Titans plus their
children bringing the grand total to twenty-seven titans. Whereas, the film had twenty
Titans that just appeared to be a group of angry and bitter ancient soldiers. I have also
noticed that a lot of films picture them this way or as a group of monsters. It begs one
to wonder if there is a second set of Titans that the big film companies created that they
use solely for films or if they made them up this way to make a shorter film explanation.
I have yet to see a film that pictures all the Titans as they are actually described in myths
– the ancestors of Zeus, his siblings and all of the other gods that came after them. If
films actually followed the ancient myths verbatim would people still be as interested as
they are or would they bomb in the box office?
A second bone of contention is the Epirus Bow. The Epirus Bow is completely
fictional, but its fictional origin does have some ties to an actual mythological character
– it apparently was forged from a divine Epirus tree. This bow makes its own arrows
which are based from light and have immense power. What is even more supposing is
that if this so called bow was forged by Hercules shouldn’t he have played a much larger
role rather than the two scenes we see him in.
Theseus’s legendary battle with the Minotaur is a common theme between the
movie and the original mythology (this seemed to be one of the only things that stayed
somewhat true to the mythology). Even this at points was a stretch. The fight in and of
itself is the same – throughout the movie it is just a man with a Minotaur helmet and in
the myths it is an actual minotaur with which he has to fight and defeat in order to
return home. One would think the screenwriters would have kept at least some of the
basic myths of Theseus true. This is definitely not the case. It seems in symbolism a lot
has stayed the same, but in the actual scenes in the film very few things are actually
kept to the original story (attached is a list of all of the things that stayed true to the
myths in the film and those that differ).
The last issue is hypocritical in that Zeus created a rule that all gods were not
allowed to interfere with mortals and if they were to it is punishable by death. Zeus
blatantly breaks this rule as he trains Theseus from the time he was a young child into
his adulthood in fighting and faith. He gets around his “rule” by making himself appear
as an old man so Theseus never knows who he really is. Later on in the movie most of
the gods intervene. Poseidon purposefully falls into the ocean and wipes out part of
Hyperion’s army, Athena provides Theseus with horses that would carry them anywhere
they needed as fast as their hearts would carry them, and Ares directly intervened as a
god and saved Theseus and his companions. Zeus came down from Mount Olympus and
tearfully grabbed a chain and killed Ares for directly intervening. There is such a double
standard for all of the gods and Zeus. He doesn’t want there to be any interference, yet
he is the first one to interfere.
As a whole, the film has an emotion evoking and interesting storyline, though it
doesn’t seem to follow much of the classic myths. If this film had more basis in classical
myths I think it would entertain a larger audience and would probably receive much less
criticism than it has received. If all mythological films took note of this and tied actual
facts to their storylines they would most assuredly be box office hits!

Greek Myths The Immortals Got Right and Wrong
- No Epirus Bow in Greek myths
+ The gods and titans fought in a 10 year war called the Titanomachy
- Hyperion never fought Theseus (Hyperion was barely mentioned in myths)
-/+ Phaedra was Theseus’s lover in the film and was his wife in Greek myths
- Never fought Hyperion’s army (fought the Amazons)
+ Theseus’s fighting skills were always legendary
- Theseus’s mother was not a peasant (in myths she was the daughter of a king)
-/+ Didn’t find a bow under a rock (in film), but rather his father’s sword (in myths)
- Theseus received special training from Zeus (in film), in myths he was strong
because he was Poseidon’s son (differs in various versions of the myths)
+ Theseus fights the Minotaur and slays it
- Gods never help Theseus in his battles (in myths)
-/+ Titans were locked in Tartarus
--underworld in myths
--mountain in film
- 12 titans in myth, 20 titan in film
+ Theseus had a son Acamus in both film and myth