By Arpita Mahapatra
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word “Troy” is the name Achilles. Or well, Brad Pitt. But the point is, almost anyone who has ever seen the movie assumes that Achilles is the true hero of the story.
As someone who has read Homer’s epic “Iliad” and seen the movie too, I can say that Achilles might be a character who catches your attention and keeps it on himself, but he is nowhere the hero Hector is.
Here are ways in which the movie has attempted to get viewers to sympathize with Achilles more than necessary:
By Justifying His Rage On Patroclus’ Death:
- In the movie, Patroclus is played by a very youthful boy towards whom Achilles seems to have paternal/brotherly feelings. So when he is killed, it makes sense to imagine Achilles grieving over the death of a child he almost considered his own.
- However, Patroclus is originally believed to have been older than Achilles by several years.
- Moreover, in some versions of the story, it is implied that they had a romantic relationship. While it’s touching that Achilles sought to avenge a lost love, one cannot help but think of Hector’s wife and infant son who suffered in the most unacceptable manner as a result of not just Hector’s death but as the inhabitants of the fallen kingdom.
By Making Him The Knight In Shining Armour For Briseis:
- While it is true that in some interpretations of the epic, the two lovers consider each other man and wife, the most widely accepted notion is that Briseis was little more than a ‘prize’ for Achilles.
- In the movie, it appears that Achilles is disgusted by Agamemnon’s treatment of the woman, while the book seems to suggest that Achilles was sulking because of his possession being snatched away which made him seem weak in comparison- adding insult to injury.
- He is indifferent to numerous deaths until someone he loves is killed because HE refused to join the battle.
It is crucial to note that Hector fought with Patroclus under the impression that he was battling with Achilles since the former was dressed in the latter’s armour (to mislead the Trojan army). He also dealt him a death blow with the respect accorded to a valiant warrior, while Achilles reciprocated in the cruelest and most shameful manner by maiming Hector’s corpse and dragging it behind his chariot during Patroclus’ funeral games.
If you still think Achilles is a hero, comment below and I’ll write another post to convince you. #NotGivingUp
All pictures have been taken from Google Images.
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