I'll take the glory, please

I'll take the glory, please

The family watched Troy in the evening. Two years back my son and I read through a modernised version of the Iliad. This story has it all (and the film is, for epics of this kind, pretty faithful to the main lines of theĀ original). There are some wonderful characters and roles: Achilles, who opts for glorious doom over an anonymously happy dotage; the brave and noble Hector, accepting the whimsies of the Gods and of his silly brother, Paris; Patroclus, who dons Achilles’ armour and is killed by Hector, and who is in his turn killed by Achilles; King Priam, reduced to begging for his son Hector’s body so as to give him a hero’s burial and Achilles empathetically relenting. Lastly, there is Achilles’ knowledge that, having opted for glory in battle, he will never know the happiness of homecoming. I have adored this story since I first read an abridged and illustrated version in Puffin books many moons ago. In 1981 I at last visited the real Troy and, later, picnicked on the plains before it, and all the time I had in my mind the exploits recounted so vividly in the Iliad. What a story!