Appropriating for Modern Taste
Although, as you learned from working on Essay #1, knowledge of the cultural context helps clarify ancient texts, very often, moderns prefer to ignore the past and just appropriate older literature for their own purposes. One example of this is the film Troy. Although most educated people believe that in order to do justice to Homer’s Iliad, it is necessary to recognize how complex its cultural context is, Hollywood was more interested in producing a blockbuster that would make lots of money. Therefore, although producers retained the ancient setting of the Trojan War, they changed just about everything else to transform the Greek epic into a modern story. Some of the more radical shifts include: the attitudes towards romantic love; treatment of women; nationalism; militarism; heroism; and honor. Other differences include: characterization; attitude towards religion and the gods; individual scenes; and plot sequences. For Essay #2, you are to analyze the way one particular aspect of the epic has been appropriated for modern tastes.
In selecting your thesis, be certain to choose something narrow enough to cover in two pages. Then, compare the two versions of your topic, thinking especially about how and why the filmmakers thought the changes from the original would make the movie more attractive to us. That explanation will become the thesis of your paper.