Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Trojan Horse

The only definition I used know of the term Torjan Horse is as defined in first paragraph of the definition at Webopedia . Recently I came to know the origins of this term when I saw the latest (not so latest as of now because this article is laying as draft for a long time) Hollywood movie Troy .

Troy tells a story from ancient Greek mythology mostly know from Homer’s stories in Iliad . To simply put it’s a story about how the city of Troy is destroyed in the hands of Greeks when the young prince of Troy Paris falls in love with the Greek king Menelaus’s beautiful wife Helen and brings her back to Troy secretly.

At first, Paris’s love looked very boyish to me. This is clear from the conversation he had with his elder brother prince Hector when they are sailing back home after the peace talks with Menelaus.

Paris says “bother do you really love me?”
Hector looks at him and says “last time you asked me this question was when you are 10 and then you have stolen father’s horse, now what you have done?”

One of the incredible things about this story is the love and affection between the family members of Paris. Hector loved his bother very much; it is very clear when he couldn’t deny Paris when he shows Helen to him in the ship. Hector is one of the sensible guys in this story; he knows the consequences of taking Helen to Troy. So many years of war between Greeks and Troy finally ended and he knows all those peace efforts will be in vain. He had a very strong urge to turn his ships back and return Helen to Menelaus, but he couldn’t do it because he respected his brother’s love.

One more incident which shows Hectors love for his brother is when Paris chooses to fight with Menelaus to decided who gets Helen. Paris being a weak guy and no match to the skills of Menelaus falls on the ground wounded and crawls back to the Hector who is watching from behind. Menelaus asks Hector to respect the rules of the war and step back so that he can kill Paris. However, Hector says that he can’t because he is his brother and pulls his sword out and kills Menelaus who is coming forward in a rage to kill Paris.

Though Menelaus is not a mighty king but he has a brother Agamemnon who is mighty and thirsty for power. Agamemnon readily agrees to come to war against Troy because he is waiting for an opportunity to do so. Agamemnon never cared for Menelaus.

The reason for the conflict between Agamemnon and Troy is no more Helen, actually she never was. She is just a small spark need to ignite the flame. Hector never wanted to see all this and he knows that they have difficult times ahead. He realized this when he met the great warrior of Greeks Achilles during the first Greeks attack on Apollo temple. Achilles is a ruthless killer who fights wars for glory.

Hector loved his wife Andromache and his newborn son Astyanax very much.

I saw every reason for Andromache to hate Helen. This is because the events eventually lead Hector to face Achilles. Though Hector is a great worrier himself, he knows that he is no match for Achilles. Andromache watched her husband fight Achilles, who eventually killed Hector and dragged his body to his camp showing anger & disrespect (for reasons I have not said here) to Hector. Andromache cries watching all this but she never says a single word. She is part of the family where her husband gave his life for his brother and the Troy.

One of the touching parts of the story is when the old king of Troy Priam goes to Achilles’s camp in the night weeping on his sons death and begs Achilles to give his son’s body back so that he can perform the last rituals his son deserves. This shows how much he loved Hector.

Now the Trojans (people of Troy are know as Trojans) are on back foot with the death of the prince, the Greeks comes up with an idea of building a giant wooden horse loaded with soldiers inside and leaving it as a peaceful offering to the god Apollo whom the Trojans prayed and always have faith in. This trick eventually worked as Trojans took the horse into the city of Troy accepting the Greeks offer to their god. Eventually the soldiers inside the horse sneaked out in the night and opened the city doors for Greek army to come in and destroy the Troy. That’s where the term Trojan Horse originated.

Most part of Homer’s Iliad is about Achilles a great warrior and a hero. But for me Hector is the real hero from the story of Troy who is a sensible man, showed great courage, loved his family and died for it. Probably Achilles is another character to study by reading Iliad.


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