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Hogarth judge

February 2018



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Hogarth judge

Trojan Man!

Went to see Troy yesterday. I suspect that the less you have ever heard of the characters mentioned in the movie, the likelier you are to enjoy it.

The film makes the whole Trojan War seem like a couple of months, rather than ten years long as Homer described it. No one ages at all.

AGAMEMNON does not die at Troy! This is the biggest whopper in the movie. They set up Agamemnon to be the villain, so they show him getting his comeuppance. I suppose this makes better Hollywood, but it wrecks the rest of Greek mythology. Agamemnon has a hot date with Clytæmnêstra when he returns home from the war, who is still hot under the collar about that business where he sacrificed Iphigeneia her daughter. Making this impossible wrecks a whole bunch of stuff in Greek mythology. You don't get Orestes, you don't get Elektra --- the whole story cycle of the House of Atreus falls apart if Agamemnon dies at Troy.

Achilles was not in the Trojan Horse. He was shot by Paris long before that episode. Not sure I like what they did to Briseis; I suppose Hollywood needs to have a romance angle in a war picture. But they basically turned Briseis into a nun who melts when she meets a man who's alpha enough. (I did very much like the "Everything is more beautiful for the doomed" line, though --- with a line like that, Brad Pitt could persuade me to sleep with him. Best moment of the whole picture IMO.)

Diomedes seems to have been AWOL.

Ajax does not die until after Achilles is dead. In fact, the cause of Ajax's death was a quarrel with Odysseus over the armour of Achilles.

Menelaus does not die. In fact, he is reunited with Helen in Egypt, and the two of them live "happily ever after." Of course the movie Menelaus was not a likeable fellow, but so it is written.

I realize that liberties will be taken --- but the liberties taken with the story of Lord of the Rings, though the subject of intense study by Tolkien fans, are absolutely dwarfed by these: especially killing off Agamemnon. But people still read Tolkien in the original. Far fewer read the Iliad, and unfortunately Hollywood versions tend to become the canonical ones that everybody knows.


None of these bothered me so much as the fact that Helen was not gorgeous, she was mildly cute. And blond. She'd have made a much better Heidi.