The Trojan War

This paper discusses two different literary portrayals of the Trojan War.

This paper compares and contrasts the portrayal of the Trojan War in Homer’s epic The Iliad, and Shakespeare’s version of the Trojan War in his drama “Troilus and Cressida.” The author discusses the different lessons that both authors felt could be drawn from this war. In Shakespeare’s case, his distaste for war is reflected in his opinion that the war was fought for no reason at all and as a result of his views has always campaigned against the myth, as he sees it, of the Trojan War. Homer on the other hand feel felt that the War was fought for justifiable reasons and its outcome is important. These two opposing views are discussed throughout the paper.
At the end of Shakespeare’s play, a character not present in Homer’s text named Pandarus, who has helped the young lovers of the title have an illicit tryst, leers at the audience that he will bequeath to the audience his diseases, presumably of the flesh. War does not elevate the morals of men and women; it only corrupts them and rots at them. Unlike Homer, Shakespeare stresses that rather than nobility, the reasons for even supposedly the greatest of all wars was in lust and human irrationality. Rather than praising Odysseus (or Ulysses, as Shakespeare calls him in the text), Shakespeare makes the character’s statement that the heavens are ordered and observe degree, priority, and place, in war become absurd. (1.3.86)