How Accurate Is: Troy (Film, 2004) Part 4

Cassandra, giving a prophecy. Guess how many people believed her?
Cassandra, giving a prophecy. Guess how many people believed her?

Hello everyone! Today’s post will be fairly brief; I just wanted to write a final post for Troy. Of all the omissions in Troy, there is one as yet unmentioned which was particularly glaring. This was the absence of Cassandra, the famous prophet and princess of Troy. In the original Iliad, Cassandra was simply one of Priam’s daughters; it fell to later poets to give her the gift of prophecy along with the curse to never be believed.[1] She would have made a valuable addition to this film, lending a much-needed sense of historic tragedy; the fate of Cassandra is, after all, among the most tragic of the war. Cassandra was a prophet; she would have known she would be murdered by Clymnestra upon reaching Mycenae, but chose to keep silent about it, either because she knew she would never be believed or simply to spite Agamemnon. The mental fortitude required to know the fate of Troy and all its inhabitants but to have her warnings constantly dismissed is incredible. The absence of this complex side character from the war damages the film immensely.

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Troy, while a decent movie in its own merits, completely disregards the story of the Iliad on which it is based. The film is condensed to such a degree that events become nearly unrecognizable, and the distortion of  the story to remove any mythical elements and to ensure a happy ending does not aid the situation. That said, Troy did not do everything wrong. One of the most clever aspects of Troy was its constant self-mocking references to the Iliad. The film may have disregarded history, but at least it knew it was doing so. One example is Achilles removing every arrow except the one in his heel; another is the conversation between Hector and Andromache in which when the fate of Andromache and her child in the Iliad is mentioned. Of note also is a cameo by Aeneas, who in mythology would go on to found Rome.

As is often the case with historical media, Troy would almost certainly have held up better if the story had stuck closer to the Iliad. While Troy was a decent film, it does not benefit from comparison to the more interesting story on which it is based. Let this be a lesson to directors to deviate from history at their own risk; if the history is more interesting than the film purporting to tell the story, something has gone very wrong. Thank you all for reading my posts on Troy, and I look forward to seeing you next time.


1 University of Illinois. “Cassandra in the Classical World,” n.d.

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