Sunday, October 30, 2011

Helen of Troy

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Get an original DVD copy of this epic miniseries about the extraordinary beauty of Helen, Queen of Sparta, who had caused the Trojan War. Available at Amazon as low as $4.87. 

Helen of Troy is a 2003 American TV miniseries starring Sienna Guillory. I just watched it last night on DVD and quite puzzled with the run-up of the story, nevertheless, it spurred my interest to dig more on the classical Greek Tragedy plays.

I've been a passionate reader of European history and Wars and fascinated about Greek mythology and its connection to the classical Greece so every time I stumbled on TV series/Films that have something to do with Europe I wasted no time watching it.

Though I never read the full details of Illiad and Odyssey by Homer, I'd read some portion of these two poems, well, most particularly the fascinating Trojan War, maybe because I was intrigued why Helen was called the most beautiful woman in the world and the face "that could launch a thousand ships".

In Homer's Illiad, the Trojan War ignited when Paris, the second son of King Priam of Troy seduced Helen, who was already married to Melaneus, Prince of Mycenae and who became King of Sparta after Helen's step-father, King Tyndareus, abdicated. Paris and Helen became lovers and eloped to Troy which angered Melaneus and gathered other Kings, including his tyrant brother, Agamemnon who married Helen's sister, Clytemnestra, to launch war against Troy in order to take back Helen to Sparta. 

In this 2003 miniseries, I was confused with how the story presented. Some of the facts, especially on the important characters, were not told accurately. In Homer's Illiad, Helen was said to be a demigoddess as a daughter of Zeus (god of the Heaven in Greek Mythology) and Leda, the wife of Tyndareus. Helen had three half-siblings through her mother: Clytemnestra, Castor and Pollux, but in the miniseries, she had only two siblings: Clytemnestra and Pollux.

In the classical Greek tragedy story, Tyndareus accepted Helen as his own daughter and became very protective of her and was very cautious to accept a suitable princely suitor for her but in the miniseries, the King detested Helen and even condemned her for causing the death of Pollux when he rescued her from the hand of Theseus, leaving no legitimate future King for Sparta. Tyndareus then angrily announced to the visiting Princes and Kings to decide who among them would take Helen as a bride.

Other loopholes: It was not revealed in the series that Helen and Menelaus had children though in Homer's poem, the two had one daughter and two sons, in the series these facts were omitted. Hector, the Prince of Troy and older brother of Paris, was married to Andromache and had a son, he was considered as the best warrior of Troy, leader of the army and the noblest among the sons of King Priam, however, in the series, Hector was single and was depicted as a non-fighter. In Illiad, Paris was killed by Philoctetes while in the series, he was killed by Agamemnon. There was another element in Illiad that was missing, the other son of King Priam--Deiphobus, who, after the death of Paris had married Helen and was killed by Melaneus later.

Nevertheless, Helen of Troy, was an interesting miniseries retelling Homer's Illiad, it was told in a very simple  concept free from complications.

I enjoyed epic fantasy adventure and historical movies, so I watched this film four times --- last night and this morning---to understand better how the modern version of the classic Greek tragedy was presented. If you are into epic films, Helen of Troy (2003) is a good choice, very worthy of your time. 




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