Literary Analysis of Iliad
Portrayal of Stereotypes Through Settings I. Introduction In Homer’s epic poem, Iliad, the Greeks and the Trojans enter their ninth year of the Trojan War, which was started by Paris stealing Helen from Menelaus, the Greek king heavily concerned with honor. The story takes place in many different settings located in both the city of Troy and the Greek camp, where the battles between the two sides transpire, and Homer vividly describes shelters of Trojan and Greek major leaders.
In Wolfgang Petersen’s 2004 adaptation, Troy, prince Paris of Troy has overturned his father’s efforts of making peace with Greece by stealing Helen from Menelaus, who declares war against the Trojans. Like the epic poem, the film shows the Greek and Trojan leaders’ shelters, and it displays the city of Troy and the Greek camp. We see the appearance of different physical settings, and we also see that they provide space for characters to act in a gendered or mixed way. While many readers might regard the physical settings as simple places for events to occur in, these places give us different feelings associated with gender. Thus, the interesting idea about physical settings is that they can be categorized as feminine, masculine, or both; we, as readers, can carefully examine these places and what events occur in them to decide what gender roles they are portraying.
This leads to a question: how do the settings of the Iliad and Troy portray masculinity or femininity? This question might seem like a simple task of observing portrayal of gender stereotypes in literature, but it helps us understand the complex nature of the world, and it can change our expectations of what we should see in certain physical settings. I argue that in the epic poem, Iliad, and the 2004 adaptation Troy, objects located and characters’ actions that occur in the places determine whether the setting is more masculine or feminine. These two hints portray gendered or mixed aspects, and we can use these aspects to conclude which gender the particular setting is mostly about. While there is a shift in the portrayal of one of the settings that I will discuss in my essay, the rest of them display similar aspects of femininity. First, I will delineate that Achilles’ tent, a small physical setting of a major Greek leader, is a feminine place in both works because Achilles has shown to engage in leisure activities and to have feminine qualities of beauty and dependence. Second, I will prove that Paris’ rooms, relatively small places of a Trojan prince, share the feminine quality of emotionality in both works, but they have more differences; the poem shows femininity of physical beauty and indulgence while the movie exhibits internal feminine qualities of care and submissiveness.
I will note that the modern adaptation has shifted the view on femininity, and I will give a logical reason for why the film has chosen to do so. Third, I will introduce an idea that the city of Troy, a large setting, is feminine because it has protection, defense, and dependence. Finally, I will argue that the Greek camp, another large setting, has similar feminine qualities of defense, following the traditions, and doing laborless activities. All of my evidence show that the four settings, Greek small space and large space, and Trojan small space and large space, are feminine. Homer’s portrayal of gender stereotypes in physical settings helps us vision our world as a complex place; the world is not a black-or-white space for us to live in. Homer has decided to focus on settings that are expected to be masculine, but as you can see in my claim, he has focused on the odd aspects of them: femininity.
I believe that Homer is trying to convey the idea of complexity. By examining stereotypes in settings, we can see whether certain gender stereotypes fully apply to an event, situation, person, group of people, or a physical setting. We can also see the similarities and differences in the ancient and modern physical settings that are the same type, such as an ancient king’s palace and a president’s executive mansion. You, as a reader, take some time to consider a school; is it feminine or masculine? In today’s society, we have students of both sexes unless it is a single-sex school, and they do not mostly study one particular subject. They must study multiple subjects, whether masculine or feminine, like math, science, literature, and history. Men are expected to be good at math and science while women are stereotyped to be good at literature and history, but does this apply to everyone? We definitely have female students who excel in math whereas some male students show talent in writing.
Therefore, the reality flips our expectations on gender, and the complex nature exists in many physical settings in our world. II. a) Greek small space: Achilles’ shelter in the Iliad In the Iliad, Achilles’ tent portrays femininity of beauty, being emotional, being dependent, and engaging in leisure activities of playing music, singing, and storytelling. Achilles’ tent links to Paris’ rooms because Achilles and Paris are both leaders of their societies (Achilles is the king of Phthia, and Paris is the prince of Troy), and the physical settings are relatively small. In this paragraph, I would like to explore how Achilles’ tent provides physical space for Achilles to engage in feminine behavior by practicing a ladylike activity involving a feminine object. Achilles’ tent becomes an important scene when the Greek leaders, losing their battle with Troy, desperately conceive a plan to handle their situation: they agree that they should convince Achilles to join the battle, and going to his tent they offer him Agamemnon’s treasure, seven women, and Briseis, the woman originally taken away from Achilles.
Leaders Odysseus, Ajax, and Phoenix walk together to Achilles’ shelter and find him playing music: “Reaching the Myrmidon shelters and their ships, they found him there, delighting his heart now, plucking strong and clear on the fine lyre—beautifully carved” (257). In this scene, Achilles’ tent mainly portrays femininity through beauty, and also shows two additional feminine qualities of dependence and having musical abilities. First, Achilles shows feminine beauty through his instrument, which is described as “fine” and “beautifully carved.” The word “fine” indicates beauty and thus femininity; the fact that Achilles is handling this object linked to femininity temporarily makes Achilles himself more womanly. The carved and curved object also displays feminine beauty because of its shape, which is the opposite of a phallic symbol; Achilles’ lyre fulfills the feminine stereotype of beauty because of having curves like a woman.
The word “beautifully” directly emphasizesthis meaning. The quote proposes two more feminine aspects: dependence and being emotional. Achilles, overwhelmed with emotions (another a feminine quality), plays his lyre for comfort as seen in the word “delighting”; this word indicates that he has struggled with his emotions too much, and he needs to concentrate on something which will make him forget what he has gone through. The fact that he relies on an object to calm his feelings shows that he has fulfilled the feminine stereotype of being emotional, and that he has failed to be emotionally independent, a masculine aspect, and he is instead dependent. The feminine aspects of the tent become more prominent when Homer describes how Achilles continues to enjoy his music: “Achilles was lifting his spirits with it now, singing the famous deeds of fighting heroes” (257). In this scene, Achilles’ tent continues to show feminine qualities of indulging in fun activities and depending on certain emotions.
Through the phrase “lifting his spirits with it,” Homer restates Achilles’ action of comforting himself, thus repeating the idea of Achilles needing this pleasant, emotional feeling; the phrase shows that he is becoming happier, getting rid of his previous emotions of humiliation and rage and moving on to a more positive emotion. This can be seen as feminine in two different ways: first, Achilles continues to display emotion, although it is now positive, which is still feminine because men are expected to be less emotional, whether positive or negative. Second, Achilles depends on this positive emotion to keep away his anger and sorrow, which is showing the feminine stereotype of dependence. Achilles presents a more feminine action of “singing,” which is an expected activity done by women. Also, by singing about “famous deeds of fighting heroes,” he acknowledges that he, at the very moment, is not a warrior who fights well because he simply is not in war or any physical fight; here, Achilles is the one who tells tales about great warriors, like the Muses, and not the one who is a great warrior, thus playing the role of a female storyteller more than a central character of a story.
Achilles’ tent has also been shown to be feminine in another scene, when Achilles makes a difficult decision. With the Trojans threatening to burn the Greek ships one day, Patroclus hastily moves back to the Myrmidon camps, finding Achilles, and he tries to convince him to order the Myrmidons into war. Achilles, seeing the urgent situation, gives permission to send his men, but refuses to join the battle himself. However, after sending Patroclus into the battle along with his men, Achilles, worried about Patroclus’ fate, decides to pray to Zeus: “And then, taking a stand before his lodge, he prayed, pouring the wine to earth” (420). In this scene, Achilles’ tent shows femininity in only one way in this quote: he relies on an authority figure, and thus becomes dependent.
The word “prayed” indicates this dependence because it is an act of requesting a god to manipulate a situation in a way that is beneficial for someone. Achilles has no power to control fate, but Zeus does since he is a god; this is why Achilles prays to Zeus, so the fate will be controlled and save Patroclus’ life. By praying, Achilles relies on Zeus to keep Patroclus safe and alive. In this discussion about Achilles’ shelter in the Iliad, I hope I have proved that Achilles’ lyre, an instrument, has enabled Achilles to play with it, do feminine activities, and be emotional, and his cup has allowed Achilles to pray to Zeus, a feminine activity of dependence. II.
b) Greek small space: Achilles’ shelter in Troy In the 2004 adaptation Troy, Achilles’ tent generally portrays femininity through cleanliness, engaging in comfortable activities, such as eating and resting, and having protection. A quick battle between the Trojans and the Greeks occurs after the Greeks arrive at Troy. The Greeks rush at the Trojans and kill as many Trojans as they can, including the priests of Apollo. Achilles proudly destroys the statue of Apollo, and his men raid Apollo’s temple. After this attack, Achilles goes to his tent where he washes himself and cleans the blood and dirt up (Petersen 2004). In this scene, Achilles’ tent portrays femininity through cleanliness.
Femininity qualities include cleanliness, and washing oneself is an act of achieving cleanliness. Achilles shows other feminine aspects of engaging in simple activities, first, when he is seen consuming food, and second, when he is seen lying on his bed. Achilles, hearing Briseis’ screams, discovers that she is in trouble and rushes to the crowd of men surrounding her. After Achilles rescues Briseis from the Greek men who were tossing her around and physically abusing her, he goes to his tent and eats, offering Briseis a huge plate of food (Petersen 2004). In this scene, Achilles’ tent shows femininity by participating in an undemanding activity: eating does not involve any labor, and it is pleasurable, thus being an example of a feminine activity. Closely following this scene of Achilles eating, another scene shows Achilles with his eyes closed: “Achilles lies on his back on a deerskin, sleeping” (Petersen 2004).
In this scene, Achilles’ tent shows idleness, afeminine quality. The phrase “lies on his back” and the word “sleeping” directly exhibit Achilles staying at an idle position, resting himself. Because femininity is linked toeffortless activities, Achilles’ rest seems feminine. The word “deerskin” also adds femininity to Achilles’ action of resting because it displays Achilles lying on a soft material, as opposed to lying on a solid object. In this discussion about Achilles’ tent in Troy, I hope I have proved that Achilles has acted feminine in his tent.
It matters that Achilles’ tent is feminine because he is a warrior, and he is expected to be masculine. By achieving femininity, he reveals that even the most masculine characters have some feminine qualities. III. a) Trojan small space: Paris’ rooms in the Iliad In the Iliad, Paris’ place, or his rooms, portrays femininity of having concern about five qualities: beauty, luxury, cleanliness, emotionality, and indulging in easy activities. Paris’ rooms can be compared to Achilles’ shelter because we can see how places of both the Trojan and Greek leaders portray gender stereotypes (Achilles is a major Greek leader, and Paris is a major Trojan leader). I will show that his room as a setting allows Paris to act feminine, and the appearance of this setting also makes it feminine.
When Paris and Menelaus duel, Paris starts to lose and nearly dies since Menelaus is bigger and physically stronger than Paris is; luckily, Aphrodite saves him by whisking him away in her magical mist to his bedroom. After this task, Aphrodite cajoles Helen to join Paris in his bedroom: “‘There he is in the bedroom, the bed with inlaid rings—he’s glistening in all his beauty and his robes! You’d never dream he’s come from fighting a man, you’d think he’s off to a dance or slipped away from the dancing, stretching out at ease'” (141). In this quote, Paris’ room generally portrays femininity through two qualities: beauty and doing fun activities; however, it also contains the idea that beauty can make the person seem like they are engaging in feminine activities. I will explain how the first quality of beauty is shown. Paris shows concern for the feminine quality, beauty, through his “bed with inlaid rings,” which indicates that he, like a stereotypical feminine figure, likes decorations on his possessions.
People would instead expect a man’s room to look rather plain or even messy and untidy; since Paris’ room matches the neat and beautiful description of what is expected in a woman’s room, he fulfills the feminine stereotype of caring about beauty and neatness. Aphrodite also characterizes Paris to be a very feminine man, through her words “glistening,” “beauty,” and “robes”; Paris looks shiny and physically alluring, according to Aphrodite’s description, “glistening,” and he boasts his “beauty,” which is a feminine behavior, and wears a feminine outfit, “robes.” Paris’ looks contradict the physical appearance of men in battle, who are wearing an armor, carrying weapons, and very bloody-looking with bruises and wounds, thus becoming more physically woman. I will then explain that Paris’ room uses beauty to achieve the second quality of indulgence. Aphrodite adds to Paris’ femininity by mentioning Helen’s predictable expectation of what Paris has been doing, as seen in the clause “you’d think he’s off to a dance or slipped away from the dancing, stretching out at ease,” and Helen’s likely unexpectation, as seen in the clause “You’d never dream he’s come from fighting a man”; Aphrodite’s direct statement of what Paris looks like he is doing shows that Paris can delude people through his appearance. According to female stereotypes, women like engaging in effortless activities, which comes from another idea of women being weak and delicate, so labor is not suitable for them.
Therefore, feminine activities logically include dancing, and expectation of Paris to be “off to a dance” implies that his physical appearance makes him look like he is engaging in a feminine activity. Feminine activities also include resting, and imagery of Paris “stretching out at ease” illustrates this behavior. Aphrodite removes masculinity from Paris by stating that he does not look like “he’s come from fighting a man,” which is an expected activity done by a man, and it is what the soldiers are doing outside the city of Troy at the moment. Paris’ bedroom displays femininity directly through its looks: “And once they arrived at Paris’ sumptuous halls the attendants briskly turned to their own work as Helen in all her radiance climbed the steps to the bedroom under the high, vaulting roof” (142). In this scene, Paris’ bedroom shows femininity of beauty and luxury. Paris’ place looks extremely luxurious and fancy through the word “sumptuous.
” Female stereotypes include having a preference for expensive and ostentatious objects, and Paris must have the same taste, judging from how his place was constructed. Furthermore, his room looks feminine because it has an arched ceiling, bringing back the idea of Paris liking curves, which are feminine shapes, as opposed to phallic shapes. The feminine aspect of Paris’ room can be seen when Paris has a chance to act feminine in the place. Helenus, seeing the Trojans losing the battle one day, orders Hector to tell Trojan women to pray to Athena for help, so they would gain some power. After Hector instructs his mother to make a sacrifice to Athena and then pray with other women, he strides to Paris’ room, only to scold him for not helping the Trojans in battle: “And there in the bedroom Hector came on Paris polishing, fondling his splendid battle-gear, his shield and breastplate, turning over and over his long curved bow” (206). In this scene, Paris’ bedroom shows femininity of having concern about beauty, cleanliness, and having emotions.
Paris shows concern for beauty and cleanliness as seen in the words “polishing” and “fondling”; he needs his armor to look beautiful, shiny, and clean, which further indicates his care for trivial objects that are expected to be treated harshly. Any material that goes directly into war, including armor, will be physically ruined somehow. However, Paris simply denies this fact and treats his equipments very well. On the other hand, the word “fondling” highlights Paris’ interest in beauty because by doing it, he appreciates beauty when he sees it, which is an expected behavior of women. Additionally, the words “splendid,” “long,” and “curved” emphasize Paris’ feminine aspect of care for appearance because again, he cares about how his armor and weapon look; in this situation, Homer uses “splendid” to stress the idea of Paris’ effort to make his possessions look nice because it is a word to describe the physical beauty.
Paris seems to like objects that look feminine since his bow is “long” and “curved,” which are words to describe a feminine beauty. Paris also proves more femininity by being self-conscious when he was “turning over and over” his bow. This phrase displays repetition in an action, and this can be interpreted in three different ways: one, Paris might be trying to see if his bow is beautiful or clean enough, which fulfills the feminine stereotype. Two, Paris might be feeling negative emotions, such as guilt and shame, for not joining the battle himself when his comrades are dying. Three, Paris might be concerned about some issue deep in his mind, for example, whether he should go to war or not, and seeing the beautiful armor and weapon, he could have felt uneager to risk the chance of getting them dirty and bloody.
In any one of these three possibilities, Paris shows femininity because each of them is linked to a feminine stereotype, like being concerned with beauty or being emotional, and self-consciousness. In this discussion about Paris’ room in the Iliad, I hope that I have proved that Paris’ room portrays the five feminine qualities of beauty, cleanliness, luxury, indulgence, and emotionality because the room provides physical space for Paris to look feminine, and Paris’ beautiful battle equipments has made Paris to engage in feminine activities. It is important that a male character achieves femininity because we can become aware that not every man has to be masculine in the real world. III. b) Trojan small space: Paris’ rooms in Troy In Troy, Paris’ room portrays femininity of care, submissiveness, emotionality, and needing support through three scenes involving Helen and Paris.
After Paris has taken Helen from Sparta, Helen becomes aware that the Greeks are coming for Troy at one night. Paris, hastily conceiving a plan of escaping their situation, proposes his idea of them running away from Troy and live in a far land, where they will not be interfered by the Greeks; Paris believes that this plan will bring peace among the two sides again. However, Helen simply comments that Paris is too young (Petersen 2004). In this scene, Paris’ room portrays femininity of emotionality through Helen’s comment. Helen, acknowledging that Paris’ plan is foolish and will not work out if they tried to carry it out, uses euphemism of being young to convey that Paris is immature to know of the hazard of his plan.
The fact that she has indirectly stated her opinion depicts her understanding of Paris since she does not wish to hurt his feelings through a curt reply; this is an example of emotionality because there is a connection between them due to Helen understanding Paris. Another moment in Paris’ room portrays all four qualities listed above: submissiveness, care, needing support, and emotionality. The Trojans, desperate to conceive a plan to subdue the Greeks, who have come to Troy to start a war against them, have a conference to decide what to do. However, Paris argues that he does not will another Trojan dying for him and states that he will duel Menelaus, in which the winner takes Helen, instead of having a war; Paris also mentions that the two sides will not fight after the duel. On the battlefield, Paris duels with Menelaus, only to get wounded in the leg and breaks the agreement by running away. A battle occurs, but Paris is transported to his room, where Helen stitches his leg and states that Paris was brave to fight Menelaus (Petersen 2004).
There are three important aspects of this summary: first, an existence of emotionality and care, second, Helen being submissive to Paris, and third, Paris being supported by Helen. Paris and Helen have an emotional connection between them because Helen is the one who stitches up his leg, when other maids could have done the work; in the ancient world, people expected women to sew since they made clothes, and stitching is related to sewing. Hence, Helen expresses her love and care for Paris by nursing him herself. Also, this can be seen as Helen submitting to Paris because she is a princess herself, but she does the work of a regular maid for a prince. Helen disregards her high social status and decides to play the role of a servant caring for a person of higher social status. When Helen replies to Paris’ statement of him being a coward that he was brave to confront Menelaus, she ignores the result and only recognizes his attempt to fight; Helen does not literally mean that Paris has fought well, she simply praises Paris for making a brave decision of confronting Menelaus despite Paris’ physical weakness.
This reflects Paris’ need for emotional support since it is humiliating to him that he has failed to be masculine by running away in the duel. Helen, understanding Paris, supports him with the fact that Paris has made good efforts. Another scene portraying Paris and Helen shows femininity of emotionality. After Hector has killed Patroclus, thinking that he was Achilles because he was dressed like the warrior, both the Greeks and the Trojans grow uneasy: at night, Paris practices archery outside his bedroom while Helen watches him quietly with a look full of concern (Petersen 2004). In this scene, Paris’ rooms portray femininity of emotionality. Helen, being watchful of Paris instead of sleeping, shows that her mind is disturbed by Paris’ action of practicing archery late at night, which indicates that she understands his intuition of needing preparation for future events.
This presents the idea that they have an emotional connection between them since they share similar feelings, and one becomes aware of another’s emotions. In this discussion about Paris’ rooms in Troy, I hope I have proved that Paris’ rooms have allowed an emotional connection between Paris and Helen, which further achieved feminine qualities of care, submissiveness, and having support. Also, one important idea to notice in the two discussions is the difference in the portrayal of feminine stereotypes; Homer has shown external qualities while the adaptation has displayed internal qualities. This shift indicates that the modern society perceives femininity to be more about internal aspects. IV. a) Trojan large space: Troy(city) in the Iliad In the Iliad, the city of Troy portrays femininity of necessitating defense, male leaders having protection, and having faith in gods.
The city of Troy can be compared to the Greek camp because they are both large settings of each side. Before the duel between Paris and Menelaus, King Priam of Troy and his sons move to the top of their walls to observe the fight: “The old men of the realm held seats above the gates”(133). In this scene, the city of Troy portrays femininity of a male leader being protected. The phrase “old men of the realm” refers to King Priam and his royal sons, a description of the men in the sovereign family. The phrase “held seats above the gates” illustrates that these men are sitting on top of a high place, from where they can watch the fight safely because they are physically protected through the height difference between them and the men on the battlefield. Priam, a king of Troy, fails masculinity of power and achieves femininity of needing defense because he is a masculine character who receives protection through his city’s walls.
The city of Troy portrays femininity of having defense through its walls. When the Greeks are gaining the upperhand, Nestor encourages the Greek men to fight harder, so they can wipe out Trojan soldiers easily and reach their goal of destroying the city quicker: “So he ordered, spurring each man’s nerve—and the next moment crowds of Trojans once again would have clambered back inside their city walls” (198). In this scene, the city of Troy shows femininity of having defense for the Trojans. The phrase “would have clambered back inside their city walls” indicates that the Trojans have a chance to survive their situation of getting brutally killed by escaping through the walls of Troy. In dangerous situations, the men can rely on the walls for protection, so the existence of the gates stimulates men’s dependence on them and another chance for life through the defense. Dependence, a feminine quality, displays the men achieving femininity, and once they use it for their benefits, they achieve another feminine quality of having defense.
Therefore, the situation involving the walls of Troy strongly contributes to femininity in men. Another instance of femininity in Troy has been shown during a battle, dependence on authority figures. Hector has informed his mother of the situation on the battlefield: the Trojans are losing to the Greeks, with the Greeks gaining the upperhand. He orders her to acquire the most beautiful dress that she has and sacrifice it to Athena, goddess of wisdom, along with other women of Troy. After Hecuba, Hector’s mother, has completed the procedure of finding her dress, she, with many women, goes to the temple of Athena, and they all pray to her for the Trojans in battle: “Then—with a shrill wail they all stretched their arms to Athena as Theano, her face radiant, lifting the robe on high, spread it out across the sleek-haired goddess’ knees and prayed to the daughter of might Father Zeus” (205). In this scene, the city of Troy allows women to pray to gods, depending on them for help.
The phrase “shrill wail” show the women’s emotions of fear and sorrow for the Trojan men dying, and that they are desperate for help. Wailing indicates that they are devastated by the loss of the Trojans, and the word “shrill” contributes to the negativity of their intense emotions because it stresses the internal pain that the women feel. The phrase “spread it out” displays a feminine action of performing a ritual, sacrificing to the god before praying. We consider following the tradition to be feminine because first, it is an act of obeying, a feminine concept, and second, it is being organized, a feminine quality; obeying is present in this scene since they are not doing any irrelevant action they can make up, and the performance is organized, for there is no mess in the event. Finally, the word “prayed” shows the Trojans’ dependence on the gods, who are authority figures from their perspective.
Gods, who can control the fate, may change it when they need or wish to, but the Trojans do not have the power to do this, so they must only rely on the gods for a miraculous change. In this discussion about the city of Troy in the Iliad, I hope that I have proved that the gates, large objects, have contributed to the feminine qualities of needing defense and protection. Also, the smaller setting of Athena’s temple, where women have prayed, have shown femininity of dependence. IV. b) Trojan large space: Troy(city) in Troy In Troy, the city of Troy portrays femininity of beauty, having protection, soldiers fighting from top of the walls, and male leaders being protected on the walls and remaining idle. As Hector and Paris accompanied with Helen ride in their chariots through the streets of Troy, the citizens cheer for their return from Greece: “The city is magnificent, a wonder of white-washed walls, lush gardens, and towering STATUES of the gods.
ZEUS, APOLLO, APHRODITE, and POSEIDON stand eighty feet high in the four corners of the main square” (Petersen 2004). In this quote, the city of Troy portrays femininity of beauty and dependence. The word “magnificent” stresses how much the city looks impressive and very attractive in appearance, and the phrase “a wonder of white-washed walls” can be seen as feminine because the color white is bright in color, which is associated with beauty, a feminine quality: brightness directly links to an attractive appearance, for it pleases the eye when we observe it, and it gives us positive feelings of beauty. In this phrase, the word “wonder” emphasizes the beauty of the city since it exhibits how people can marvel at it. The phrase “lush gardens” highlights the abundance of vegetation, which relates to the idea of luxury, a feminine concept.
The list of the statues of the Greek gods, “ZEUS, APOLLO, APHRODITE, and POSEIDON,” shows that the Trojans have faith in them as authority figures, and this is an idea of dependence, another feminine concept. The city portrays femininity of defense in the following scene involving soldiers. Before Paris and Menelaus begin to duel, as the Trojans wait for the Greeks to arrive at their battle site, Trojan soldiers prepare themselves in case a battle occurs: “One thousand ARCHERS stand in various positions on the broad city walls, quivers of arrows by their sides” (Petersen 2004). In this quote, the city portrays femininity of physical defense. The phrase “One thousand ARCHERS” illustrates that there are many soldiers acting in unison. The phrase “stand in various positions on the broad city walls” accentuates that the soldiers are standing on the walls, instead of standing on the battlefield with the rest of the Trojan army.
Their spots for battle contribute to their femininity because the walls provide them a beneficial height difference, and they are physically protected from any attempt to attack them; in terms of distance, they avoid proximity to be located far away from every soldier, so they have a less chance of getting attacked by anyone. Finally, since they can look over the battlefield and observe every event that occurs, they can perceive of a necessary action to initiate when needed. The location of the archers foreground femininity because they gain benefits of physical protection by the walls. Another example of the city showing femininity is when the Trojan male leaders use protection and sit motionless. As the soldiers stand in their correct spots and stare into the vast field outside the city, King Priam moves to the top of his walls along with other royal men: “Priam sits in a grandstand beneath a blue canopy. Seated by him are CITY LEADERS, including Velius and Archeptolemus” (Petersen 2004).
In this scene, the city portrays femininity of leaders needing defense and being idle. King Priam has a “blue canopy” that provides shade and thus protects him from the sun in the sky; he does not have to swelter, and instead he remains cool in terms of body temperature. This projects his femininity since having any protection is a feminine quality. Also, King Priam sitting “in a grandstand” displays that he is at physical rest since he is leaving his weight on the entire chair, being supported by the object. This idleness highlights the femininity of being relaxed and not putting any effort. Additionally, the fact that he sits on his walls indicates his femininity of needing defense because the walls provide the benefit of overlooking the battlefield and give him time to decide what actions he should do when some serious event occurs.
From the quote, we know that there are other important men who are joining Priam on top of the walls; the words “Seated” and “CITY LEADERS” display Trojan male leaders doing what Priam is doing, sitting on the walls under the roof to be protected from the sun and the fight, and engage in idleness. Overall, we see masculine leaders acting feminine because they are achieving feminine qualities of defense, protection, and relaxation. In this discussion about the city of Troy in the adaptation, I hope that I have proved that the walls have impacted the way masculine characters act to achieve feminine qualities of having defense, protection, and being idle. Additionally, the decorations on the buildings have helped the Trojans achieve beauty. V.
a) Greek large space: the Greek camp in the Iliad In the Iliad, the Greek camp portrays femininity of necessitating defense, performing a ritual, and feasting. The Greek camp links to the city of Troy because it is a large setting of one side in the war. After a furious battle between the Greeks and the Trojans, as the Greeks perceive that they need their own walls to guard them from the Trojans, they decide to build them along with trenches: “And against the fortress, just outside the wall, the men dug an enormous trench, broad and deep, and drove sharp stakes to guard it” (228-229). In this scene, the Greek camp portrays femininity of needing defense. The word “fortress” illustrates the walls they have just constructed for themselves, and it stresses that the walls are not hastily built but strongly and diligently built to be a good defense, so the Greeks will be assured some safety.
In addition to the walls, the Greeks add a trench to nearly guarantee powerful protection, as seen in the clause “the men dug an enormous trench.” The phrase “enormous” emphasizes the size of the additional protection the Greeks have made, and it even reassures us, the readers, that the Greeks are safe to a large extent; since the walls surrounding the Greek camp are impressive in size, the Greek camp has completely fulfilled the femininity of having defense. Another scene involving Achilles displays other aspects of femininity: dependence and performing a ritual. After Achilles has a dream of Patroclus urging him to burn his dead body and bury him (he can go to Hades if Achilles does so), Achilles responds by performing the necessary ritual. However, when Achilles attempts to burn the dead body, the fire will not light up, and Achilles requests help from the winds: “Stepping back from the pyre he prayed to the two winds—Zephyr and Boreas, West and North—[..
.] begged them to come, so the wood might burst in flame and the dead burn down to ash with all good speed” (565). In this scene, the Greek camp shows femininity of dependence and performing a proper ritual for the dead. The feminine idea of dependence is shown in two different terms that highlight Achilles’ urgent situation at the same time: the word “prayed” displays Achilles’ reliance on the gods of the winds since he cannot burn the pyre if the gods are not there at the location. The word “begged” shows that Achilles is desperate for their help: it emphasizes that Achilles feels like he needs to hurry.
Additionally, the clause “the dead burn down to ash” shows Achilles’ eagerness to make the situation of the pyre getting burnt happen because it is a picture of what will happen when the wind gods help the pyre burn. This shows that Achilles’ attempt to correctly follow the traditional ritual, and this is an example of two feminine qualities: obeying and being organized. Achilles fulfills organization and obedience because he carries out the necessary procedures in the right order for a proper funeral, instead of initiating random actions in random order. Another scene shows a masculine character supporting femininity. Achilles, furious at Hector for killing his comrade, Patroclus, decides to avenge the death by quickly going into another battle, in which he can kill Hector. Achilles does not Odysseus insists that the Greek army should eat before going into battle: “And all those left alive, after the hateful carnage, remember food and drink—so all the more fiercely we can fight our enemies, nonstop, no mercy, durable as the bronze that wraps our bodies” (496).
In this quote, the Greek camp shows femininity of feasting. Odysseus strongly supports the feminine activity of eating because he argues that his army needs energy to fight the Trojans to their best, as seen in “the more fiercely we can fight our enemies, nonstop, no mercy.” This clause presents the idea that if the army eats, they will gain enough energy to fight the Trojans, so the negation of the idea is if the army does not eat, they will find it hard to successfully fight in their battle. This scene, through a masculine character, presents that the femininity plays an important role in a war. In this discussion about the Greek camp in the Iliad, I hope that I have proved that the walls have led to the Greeks achieving femininity of having protection, and the dead bodies of their comrades have prompted them to carry out the funeral in a proper order.
Finally, the Greeks have shown to be feminine through consumption of food. V. b) Greek large space: the Greek camp in Troy In Troy, the Greek camp portrays femininity of having defense, performing rituals for the dead, and feasting. After their first battle against the Trojans, the Greeks, feeling that they need physical protection to ensure safety, decide to build walls for their camp: “Pikes are anchored and other fortifications constructed to protect the tents and ships from attack” (Petersen 2004). In this scene, the Greek camp shows femininity of needing defense.
The word “fortifications” specifically classifies the walls of the Greek camp as protective large objects. Moreover, the phrase “to protect the tents and ships” directly shows the purpose of the walls: to defend the Greeks as literally stated in the quote. These statements do not need any further interpretation because they only stress the feminine quality of defense. The Greek camp also portrays femininity of following the tradition after Patroclus’ death. Patroclus gets killed by Hector, who thought he was Achilles himself since he was disguised, and Achilles, being Patroclus’ cousin, becomes extremely angry with the incident that he chokes his servant, Eudorus, and his wife, Briseis.
However, he relaxes as night approaches, and at night, the Greeks all give Patroclus a proper funeral of placing coins on his eyes and burning his dead body on a high pyre: “Eudorus hands him a torch and Achilles sets the pyre on fire” (Petersen 2004). In this scene, the Greek camp shows a feminine aspect of performing a proper ritual. The phrase “sets the pyre on fire” prominently displays cremation, which was considered to be an appropriate funeral for the dead back in Homer’s time, whose poem the adaptation is based on. The action of burning the body displays the Greeks following the tradition because they are obeying what is culturally accepted, and they are not making up random procedures to carry out the funeral; the process emphasizes that the Greeks are performing the ritual correctly like civilized people instead of barbaric soldiers. The adaptation shows another instance of femininity when men indulge in feminine activities. Achilles, angry with Hector for killing his cousin, avenges Patroclus’ death by killing Hector.
After the scene showing the funeral for Hector, a group of Ithacans surrounding a campfire eat and talk (Petersen 2004). This scene stresses femininity of engaging in leisure activities: feasting and conversing, which do not use any labor. This shows that the Greek camp provides physical space for the soldiers to indulge in feminine activities, and that feminine activities cannot be removed from war completely since men need physical and emotional comfort from time to time. In this discussion about the Greek camp in the adaptation, I hope that I have proved that the walls have influenced the Greek camp to be more feminine, and the feminine actions of the Greek soldiers weigh the femininity of the camp. The Greek camp, full of male soldiers, might be anticipated as masculine, but it has contradicted the expectation through portrayal of feminine stereotypes.
This shows us that even in a physical setting only comprising men, the feminine roles still exist. VI. Conclusion I hope that I have proved the idea that the physical settings of Troy, Greek camp, and major leaders’ shelters display rather unexpected feminine aspects, instead of masculinity. I was surprised to see many patterns in the settings that support femininity, contradictory to what readers might expect in places where men are occupied. Specifically, the Iliad and Troy had more similarities than differences in what gendered aspects showed up in the physical settings; Achilles’ tent proved that it allowed Achilles to do comfortable activities, the city of Troy has shown that it necessitates defense through its walls, and the Greek camp has displayed the feminine quality of being weak.
On the other hand, Paris’ rooms in the poem and the movie have differences: the poem portrays the setting as feminine through appearance, but the movie portrays the setting as feminine through emotions and internal thoughts. This shift formulates an idea that in today’s society, femininity is emphasized by inner qualities more than outer qualities of beauty and physical appearance. The physical settings of both the movie and the poem mostly included feminine concepts of beauty, being emotional, showing care, and in need of some protection or support. Numerous scenes from Troy and quotes from the Iliad have displayed these different aspects through patterns. However, evident patterns that portrays masculinity exist in each physical setting that I have chosen to analyze in my essay. For example, Achilles’ tent might seem masculine to other people because it is after all, a great warrior’s shelter containing weapons and battle equipments, which are masculine objects.
Additionally, Achilles has mostly felt rage in the tent, which is a masculine emotion. In the movie, Achilles’ tent may be seen as masculine in two ways involving Briseis: one, Achilles might be treating her like a toy, which shows power and dominance over a female character, and two, Achilles might be fulfilling xenia as he implies when he states that Briseis is his guest. Therefore, if I were to redo my essay, I would consider also writing about masculine portrayal of the physical settings and think about the purpose of having mixed qualities. If I were to study this topic further, I would definitely observe how stereotypes are presented in other old and modern literary works, and examine the differences and similarities of them. I would bring up another question: how does the modern society view stereotypes compared to ancient society? What might Homer trying to convey through the feminine portrayal of the physical settings near and inside Troy, which are rather expected to be masculine? The significance of his decision might be that he is trying to be realistic; no one is actually a stereotype, and humans, regardless of their sex, have mixed qualities of femininity and masculinity.
He goes beyond to dismiss the helpfulness of stereotypes by conveying the idea that stereotypes do not fully apply to anyone. Also, another possible reason for Homer’s feminine portrayal is that the war involves both women and men. Women have to cook for the soldiers going to battle, and even if they are not the ones doing this feminine task, some man has to. Therefore, the role of femininity cannot be completely removed from war. Additionally, in a war, it is not just the men who are impacted; women, the elderly, the disabled, and children exist in our world, and the war involves all of them. In real life, the idea of femininity being part of a generally masculine event, like a war, is presented in the movie, Fury.
This movie involves men going to battle under authority’s orders, and violent scenes show up similarly to Troy. However, a feminine scene displaying the male soldiers resting in a woman’s house and finding comfort by eating supports the idea that the feminine role of cooking and taking care of soldiers cannot be eliminated from generally masculine situations.