Troy

Inciting Event: Paris—the younger Trojan prince—stows his secret lover Helen, Queen of Sparta, aboard his home-bound ship. Although this is undeniably the Inciting Event, it’s interesting in that it has no immediate effect on any of the other characters. Only Paris’s brother Hector is there to react: so he stands it for the rest of the world who will soon be war. And he does an admirable job of vehemently rejecting this “Call to Adventure,” although, in the end, he can do nothing but accept Helen’s presence aboard the ship.

First Plot Point: The Grecians arrive—Achilles and his Myrmdions at their fore—and lay waste to the Trojans’ defenses. The Normal World of peace has been exited; the adventure world of war has been entered. None of these characters’ lives will ever again be the same.

First Pinch Point: Agamemnon alienates Achilles by taking the credit for Achilles’ victory and then forcing tribute from Achilles in the form of the captured temple servant Briseis. Achilles attempts to protect her, but she tells him she doesn’t want anyone else to die for her. Achilles refuses to fight for Agamemnon afterwards. The Pinch Points in this movie are an interesting choice, since their focus is on Agamemnon (the antagonist) and his goals being at stake.

Midpoint: Paris challenges Helen’s husband Menelaus to a duel—only to wimp out and force the two armies to have at each other. The Trojans win this one, allowing them to shift from reaction to action.

Second Pinch Point: Achilles’ beloved cousin Patrocles disguises himself as Achilles and leads the Myrmidons into battle. He challenges Hector, and Hector kills him. Just prior to this, Achilles had reclaimed Briseis from Agamemnon and, under her influence, decided to leave the battle. Patrocles’ death is what drags him back into war.

Third Plot Point: Achilles challenges Hector to a duel—and kills him. He then desecrates Hector’s body by dragging him around the city walls and then back to the Grecian camp. This is a low point on many obvious levels: Hector himself dies and with him, Troy’s greatest hope of victory. Achilles’ personal low came at the Pinch Point when Patrocles died, but he falls still lower here as he not only throws himself back into a lifestyle of war, but in so doing needlessly kills a good man in Hector—and then dishonors his corpse.

Climax: The Grecians use Odysseus’ scheme to infiltrate the walls of Troy via a great wooden horse, which is supposedly an offering to the god Poseidon. Once inside, the Grecians begin slaughtering the Trojan citizens.

Climactic Moment: Paris shoots Achilles through his mortal heel—killing him.

Resolution: Hector’s wife, Briseis, and Paris and Helen all escape Troy through a secret passage. The Grecians honor Achilles’ funeral pyre.

Notes: The great weakness of this sprawling epic is its very sprawl. The majority of its major structural moments belong to Achilles, who is clearly the main character. But not all of the major moments are his: the Inciting Event, the Midpoint, and the climactic turning point are all skewed to focus on other characters. And the result is a weakening of the overall focus and structure of the story.

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