Not to long ago WWII brought the great world powers of the United States, Poland, and France against Germany, Italy, and Japan. In another universe, another story took shape that brought the ancient world powers of Agamemnon and the united Greek powers up against Priam and his fortress of Troy. Agamemnon’s side opposed Priam and his forces similar to the way the United States opposed Germany. In this hectic time of war Agamemnon turns to Achilles a nearly invincible soldier and professor of battle to tip the scales in his favor. Convincing such an arrogant soldier to wage a battle for no one other than himself is no easy task for the short tempered Agamemnon. Agamemnon is not unforgiving and he gains a firmer footing in battle when Menelaus asks to go to war with him. Achilles is convinced after speaking with Odysseus and his mother that in order to remember forever he must go to battle in Troy. On the other side of the sea Priam, the king of Troy, grows more delusional each day convincing himself that Troy’s walls are impenetrable. Agamemnon’s ships carrying the Greek army, Achilles, and his Myrmidons are bent on bringing the walls of Troy to dust.
Priam reminisces over all the places he has conquered during his reign as king of Troy. Priam is deeply influenced by Troy and its culture and wants to see the civilization he helped build to continue for thousands of years. Hitler although much more fanatical shared the same desire for conquering opposing lands and bringing them under one ruler being himself. Hitler had many enemies during WWII and Priam certainly didn’t have the best reputation in the land either. These men sought after one defining culture. These men’s goals were at the expense of the deaths of their soldiers who fought on the beaches of Normandy and on the beaches of Troy.
Their reputations suffered from their lack of empathy and reason. When the American and allied soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day it was a turning point in WWII.
The American and allied soldiers fought for control of German patrolled beaches and won their control. Similarly when Agamemon, united Greek forces, and Achilles and his Myrmidons stormed the beaches of Troy it was clear the dimensions of the war had changed. With Achilles at the helm of Agamemon’s army he could rally any of Agamemnon’s men into battle. Achilles aside from Hector who considered to be the best soldier in Troy is the best soldier in the world at the time. The United States involvement seemed to provide the assistance to the Allied Powers to give them the edge in battle.
The Allied Powers fought against the will of ill conceived leaders guiding the Axis Powers to world domination. The deaths were at the expense of the dead soldiers’ friends and family as well whose cries were not in vain.
Priam expected Troy to withstand the attacks of the double edged sword that is the united Greek forces and Achilles and his Myrmidons which all come together as one. Priam underestimated the power of the Greeks who overpower the Trojans in number. Rather than listen to Hector’s advice Priam listens to the prophecy of the high priest instead which does not bode well for the Trojans. It is clear that part of Priam’s disillusionment is caused by his reliance on the prophecies of priests and priestesses which cost him seizing control over Troy back from the Greeks. Priam’s methods are considered by his more secular thinking son Hector to be inapplicable let alone old fashioned to war. Paris tells his father that the way he loves Helen is the way Priam loves Troy. Every grain of sand every drop of water is savored by Priam. His image of Troy is based on his experiences watching Troy develop and transform through the years.
Priam wearily relies on the sturdy walls of Troy to protect him and the image he keeps of Troy of once being a more peaceful and sovereign time. Hitler’s symbol the swatiska signifies the Nazi Regime in the same way that Priam uses the walls surrounding Troy as the defining symbol for their nation as an all encompassing force. In battle soldiers fighting against Troy would come to realize the vastness and difficulty. Similarly Allied soldiers recognized the significance of the swastika because it signified the allegiance to the Nazi Regime and demonstrated that Nazi soldiers governed themselves so closely after the Regime that they wore a swastika on their clothing. Jews victimized by the Nazi Regime would also readily recognize the swastika as a foreboding symbol meant to alert Jewish people of Nazi presence in their homeland.
The system of belief that grounded Priam and Hitler couldn’t withstand the restrictions their opposing forces inflicted upon them. As a result looking through the lens of WWII I consider the outcome of the war in the Troy film to be similar. The conflict in Troy began with the stealing of Helen from Menelaus but developed into a war on a much larger scale than Priam or Agamemnon could have imagined. Hitler had himself convinced after being elected that he exerted a great deal of influence over the German people and therefore could exert his influence over the whole world. He tried to do this in WWII but didn’t succeed. In a similar fashion Priam failed to conquer the Greeks and watched as his city was completely burned to the ground.