The topic of this essay is the comparison of different characters from the masterpieces of world literature and movie-making. The heroes from Homer’s “Odyssey”, Hawthorne’s “Scarlett Latter” and movie characters from Hollywood hits “Troy” and “Hamlet” present a real interest for anybody as they display vividly basic features of a human character typical of any human being throughout the history of mankind.
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The first heroes to be compared are Achilles from the Hollywood movie “Troy” and Odysseus from Homer’s “Odyssey”. The heroes are in opposition to each other as they are followers of contradicting philosophies. Achilles, on the one side, is a warrior from his birth. The only essence of his existence is fighting, getting desired by force, and worshipping the God of War. Being almost immortal he is considered to be the best warrior among Greeks and the Trojan War can not be successfully ended without Achilles’ help. He helps the Greek army despite the prophecy that promised his death at that war and the enemies kill him. A spear wound into his heel, the only spot where he could be wounded, killed Achilles. In the underworld he regretted the lifestyle he had chosen, he wished he was alive, even as a slave but it was too late. On the other side, there is Odysseus, famous for his courage and brevity not so as Achilles but for achieving his goals in other ways. The basic features of his nature are intelligence, cunning, and self-assertion. Odysseus realizes that force does not mean everything and demonstrates it in reality, for instance escaping from the Cyclops’ cave or winning over his wife’s suitors. He has a purpose, returning home, and he uses all the possible means to achieve it, force combined with intelligent cunning which let him have a better fate than Achilles’ one.
And now our analysis goes to the comparison of the three female characters which are considered to be the most impressive images of the world art as their features are thought of either as an ideal of a woman or the worst in a woman with no feeling of devotion and faithfulness.
Speaking about Penelope, the heroine of The Odyssey and Odysseus’ wife she is a protagonist of the story by Homer. Her faithfulness to her husband deserves respect because she waited for him for more than twenty years and did not think of marriage with any of those suitors willing to take Odysseus’ place. Penelope invented reasons and excuses in order not to be made to marry. She told her suitors that while she was knitting a cloth she would not choose any of them and delayed time by all possible means with the only purpose – to gain time because she was sure about Odysseus returning. And as a result, she succeeded in her plan, her husband came back home and was happy to find confirmations of Penelope’s faithfulness.
Another positive character is Hester Prynne from “Scarlett Letter”. A young woman held up to shame for having a child from her lover while being married proved to have inner strength and stubborn nature. She met lots of obstacles on her way but did not betray her beloved man. She did no give up her love and died scorned by society but earnest to herself.
Concerning the third character, Queen Gertrude from the movie “Hamlet” present the opposite side of a human personality. Her husband, the King of Denmark, was killed and she had no remorse or feeling of sorrow to marry her husband’s killer, his brother Claudius. We can not judge but it seems reasonable when Hamlet, her son, kills her and Claudius taking revenge for his father’s death.
Homer., W. H. D. Rouse (translator). The Odyssey. New York: Signet Classics, 1999.
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Hawthorne, Daniel. The Scarlett Letter. New York: Wordsworth Classics, 2005.
Troy. Prod. James Horner, Dir. Wolfgang Petersen, Perf. Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom. DVD. Warner Bros., 2005.