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Fame, Achilles and Troy, the Movie

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For modern times, you’re absolutely right. But that was one of the things that TROY got right about the Iliad —- according to Homer, Achilles fought for enduring fame. He was a warrior, not a soldier, and his different value system echoes that. Warriors of that time needed a name to attract followers. Followers were the route to money and power through the ability to sack towns and cities and extort protection money. The kings of the Iliad were little more than pirate lords and glorified bandits —- Odysseus and Achilles both brag about such exploits regularly.

Vikings lived by a similar code. The closest thing we have to that nowadays is maybe the warlord armies of the Congo, or men like Hekmatyar and Haqqani and Dostum in Afghanistan. And it’s a great thing that we in the First World live in an age of soldiers rather than warriors.


Men have fought for glory since the dawn of conflict. They do it now in mma and ufc form. And they are remembered for it. As far as our last century, what name will be most remembered?Einstein? Dr. King? Hannah Montana? Or maybe Hitler for cauing the deaths of millions?


Great comments all around. I totally agree that warriors fight for honor, which I think is shallow, but I think honor is different than fame, especially in the modern context.

Since I mostly read the Odyssey in high school, I did some research before I wrote the article (mainly spark notes and cliff notes.) They confirm what I said in the third paragraph: Achilles main attribute was pride, and pride is different then fame. He acted brashly and often destructively to protect his honor, but he didn’t do it for fame, especially not our modern conception of fame. Maybe I’m splitting hairs here.

And in the Iliad, Achilles looks bad, and his portrayal was negative. The film portrayed him as noble. Why? because he was played by Brad Pitt, and Hollywood doesn’t like nuance.


It should also be mentioned that while the film had some intricate fight scenes, generally it was pretty loose with how wel it followed the original (or as close to the original that survived. Like how the war lasted weeks instead of decades, the death of Ajax, and the whole character of Odysseus. So long as the violence looks good I guess you can scimp on accuracy I guess.