Comparative Essay of Iliad and Avengers: Infinity War
Two works of art are being compared due to its similarity, but comes from different eras. The Iliad is a poem written by Homer, a Greek poet. It depicts the final year of the Trojan War, which put the city of Troy against the Greeks. And the other one, Avengers: Infinity War is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Avengers of Marvel Comics. It is the sequel to The Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and is produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2015). Literary elements such as the storyline, characters, and conflict will be put to comparison between the two. Both the poem and the film have a protagonist and antagonist, the storyline about war, and conflicts between the characters.
In terms of the storyline, both stories are about wars. The “Iliad” is an epic poem that focuses on the great Trojan War and the many factors that determined the warriors and soldiers who won the battle. For the Avengers: Infinity War, it is also about a long fight that takes place, with several factors influencing who wins the war and how they do so. The film only takes place in a modern world where technology and science are factors in winning the war. The counterpart for these factors in Illiad are the gods and goddess of that era. Another similarity of the two is that each story has a continuation and open ending, with the Illiad being the Odyssey and other stories branching off on characters in the “Iliad” and for Avengers: Infinity War, the Avengers: End Game movie is the next film.
Both Iliad and Avengers have similarities in terms of their characters which are divided into the sides of protagonist and antagonist. In Iliad, there are Greek characters like Achilles, Odysseus, and King Menelaus while the Roman side has Hector, Paris, and King Priam. On the other hand, in Avengers Infinity War, they are divided into heroes’ sides and villains’ sides where there are heroes like Captain America and Iron Man while the villains are composed of Thanos’ squad. There are several characters in both stories aside from the listed ones above. This depiction of many characters clashing in combat shows an immediate connection between the film and the book.
Some may argue that there is no connection between the two stories especially the character of Achilles and Thanos. However, there are instances wherein their characters coincide. Both of them are born with godly parents and show perseverance when it comes to battle. As said by Agamemnon, “Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, and wars and battles; and if you are very strong indeed, that is a god's gift” (1.177-178). In this quotation, Agamemnon is implying that aside from Achilles desiring all of the merits, he is just using his superiority because of some intervention of gods. They both defeat the opposing army on their own and, they have the same self-centered mentality toward the battle. Patricles' death is the only reason Achilles defeats Troy. Meanwhile, Thanos attempts to use the infinity stones to wipe out half of the universe because he believes that it is the best way to avoid more problems that may still happen. The same thing with Achilles who is willing to let Achaeans die just because of a woman. Moreover, Thanos, like Achilles, desires all of the fame for himself, believing that "The hardest choices require the strongest wills" (1:47:54). Thus, these show that the characters in the film and book have connections. Both characters are clearly egotistical warriors with much more influence than they know. What if they didn’t disappear or die? Thanos may rule the whole universe and Achilles will not be shot by a mere arrow in his heels.In addition to this, other characters who have similarities are Iron Man and Hephaestus. Hephaestus is the god of fire in the Iliad who can mold the iron for weaponry, which can be compared to Iron Man's valiant use of his armor. In addition, Iron Man uses his armored suit to fly, which draws a connection with Hephaestus, who is a master at using iron in a unique manner, and who was also described in the Iliad as the god preparing the arms and armor of all immortals. In terms of their partners, Hephaestus married the most beautiful goddess who is Aphrodite, while Iron Man has his own Aphrodite in the personality of Pepper. If Iron Man is a visually appealing hero, Hephaestus is not that good-looking that made her mother, Hera abandoned him and thrown him off Olympus.
Another similarity of Illiad and Avengers: Infinity War is that there are conflicts between the characters. In Illiad for example, Achilles withdraws from the battle and refuses to fight because Agamemnon's demand for Achilles' war prize, the lovely maiden Briseis. The great Achilles' ego is wounded and as a result, Achilles declines to fight in the war, and the Greeks suffer greatly in their struggle against the Trojans due to his absence. The line of Agamemnon shows his competition to Achilles for political authority. “Yes, old sir, all this you have said is fair and orderly. Yet here is a man who wishes to be above all others, who wishes to hold power over all, and to be lord of all, and give them their orders, yet I think one will not obey him.” (1.286-289). It clearly shows here another conflict between the two as warriors and how they are not in good terms. This fight between characters is present in the film as well. In the Infinity War, Captain America and Iron Man are not in good terms in the movie after their conflict in the previous film, Civil War where Stark was given a retro flip phone by Rogers in case they needed to communicate in an emergency, but that was it. The heroes dispersed to pursue their own goals. They fought Thanos but failed because of Peter Quill’s emotion getting in the way after learning the death of Gamora which is cause by Thanos himself just to obtain the soul stone. “Okay, Quill, you gotta cool it right now. You understand? Don't. Don't engage, we almost got this off!” (1:51:41). This line of Stark shows panicked as they were almost through in finishing Thanos. He directed this to Peter Quill who is slowly losing it. Stark tried to calm him down but failed which led to their defeat and half of the population vanished.
Avengers: Infinity War and Iliad are both considered to be some of the best films and novels in the whole world. The gods were the focus in the Iliad, while heroes in the Avengers. They feature long conflicts and wars, and a variety of characters that all lead to battle being waged. Both of them were compared in terms of the storyline, conflict, and characters. While the Avengers focused on saving the world from Thanos, the Iliad is set to the battle of the Trojan War. Both of them showed the importance of leadership and unity especially when it comes to wars. It is also showing the unseen comparison between the two tragic characters who are Achilles and Thanos. This comparison showed that Avengers: Infinity War is the modernized version of the ancient novel Iliad. The present-day heroes are seen to have several connections to ancient gods and warriors, who have evolved through time, infiltrating all aspects of global cultures through movie films.
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Avengers: Infinity War. Directed by Russo, Joe, and Anthony Russo. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2018.
Homer, et.al. The Iliad. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Books, 1998. Print.
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