Clash of Titans: Stages to Heroism
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Every stage in a hero’s life marks a step towards the fulfillment of his quest. As Perseus starts of his mission of avenging his parents’ death and protecting the men of the city of Argos in the “Clash of Titans”, the movie’s plot undergoes different stages, which are portrayed in the hero’s life. Each stage fulfills its intended purpose of finally creating the hero in Perseus, as seen in the closing stages of the movie. From one stage to another, the hero is strengthened to meet the challenges he has to face later, finally culminating with the mortal combat with his nemesis Hades.
As the movie unfolds, soldiers from Argos destroy the statue of the Greek God Zeus and subsequently face the wrath of Hades, the underworld god. Hades destroys the soldiers and their ship in the form of furies which then merge together into the form of the netherworld god (Sacks, Murray and Brody 39). It is at this stage that the adopted parents of Perseus are killed by Hades sparking a burning desire for revenge. Hades demolishes the ship killing both Spyros and Marmara, and leaves Perseus unconscious. Evidently, no story has a hero without a cause. For without the cause, there will be no challenge to face and such is the significance of this stage in the plot of the movie. It sets the stage for the rest of the story, giving the hero reason for his mission. In Perseus grows the desire to avenge the death of his beloved parents, whose death can only be avenged by facing Hades. Oblivious of his origin and status as a demigod, sired by Zeus himself, Perseus resolves to face the underworld ruler in his quest for vengeance. It cannot go without notice that this stage also points out the underlying discord between the men and the gods. The armed men from the Greek city of Argos demolish Zeus’s statue with anger and hatred, which in essence foreshadows the later events of battles between the two sides in the movie. Being a man, or rather, thinking of himself as a man, Perseus will find allies among humans and join their side in “the clash of titans”. Witnessing the death of his parents, shatters the hero’s earlier life and sets in motion the journey that will fulfill his purpose.
The duration of imprisonment in Argos under the command of king Kepheus, gives Perseus the chance to meet Lo, a woman under the curse of immortality for spurning the advances of a god. From Lo, Perseus learns of his origin and the long story behind his being and the sad fate of his birth mother. Perseus learns from Lo that his mother, Queen Danae, had been sentenced to execution by her husband, King Acrisius, who cast both mother and son into the sea in a coffin. One great secret revealed to the hero, is the fact that he is Zeus’s son and thus a demigod. This also brings to light the words uttered by Hades at the celebration party hosted by the Argos’ ruler, king Kepheus and his wife, Queen Cassiopeia. Meeting with Lo in captivity give Perseus the opportunity to learn of his past and gradually opens doors to his real self and being, as half deity and half man; and the one prophesied to prevail over Hades. At this stage, Perseus gets to know of his demigod nature and the fact that in taking the men’s side of the battle, he will have to come up against his own; Zeus and the rest of the gods (Worthington 46). This section of the movie’s plot further accentuates the looming clash against his archenemy.
Following the revelation made by Lo, Perseus is involved in the city’s effort to escape the imminent destruction declared by Hades through the destructive monster Kraken. As fear grips the city, a stage is set for the beginning of the hero’s mission, launched in the bid to relieve the people of Argos from the impending dreadful tragedy (Worthington 43). Being given the authority to punish the defiance men, Hades is seen taking every opportunity to instill fear in the hearts of men. Rather than obey the gods through adoration, men begin to dread every encounter with their deities as a result of Hades’ actions. It’s at this stage that the King acknowledging the role that can be played by Perseus asks him to lead the mission to the three stygian witches so as to know how they could kill the Kraken. At the same time, the king wants to avoid giving her daughter, Princess Andromeda as sacrifice to the monster as demanded by Hades. Taking the step to lead the men of Argos, Perseus enters into a direct confrontation with his nemesis. It is not the kraken that is his real enemy but Hades, whose action caused his parents death.
The next stage sees the hero fight to keep on with the journey to the three stygian witches. Calipos, who has been given powers to challenge Perseus and his company, nearly succeeds in breaking the noble mission, which would have been terminated but for the arrival and intervention of the desert Djinns. It’s at this stage that the hero is introduced to the art of battle (Worthington 58). Perseus gradually learns to face his enemies and all other obstructions to his quest, and little by little gains the courage and strength to be the eventual warrior whose heroic deeds save not only the city, but the rest of the gods from Hades’ covert ambitions. Perseus grows to be his own man, to the point of disregarding Zeus’s gift intended for protection throughout the journey, together with the offer of being made a god; choosing instead to rely on himself and the conviction of success he holds after decapitating medusa. A hero, who stands his own ground, is the hero others can depend on as illustrated by Perseus.
One phase that changes the hero, giving him full faith in himself is the acknowledgment of his nature as a demigod. Before this stage, Perseus views himself as a man fighting for men in spite of knowing his origin. Realization and acceptance of his deified nature comes at an opportune time as he is engrossed in a mortal contest with Calipos (Worthington 89). Picking up the Olympian sword, he thrusts it through the enemy’s heart, and eliminates Hades’ spirit restoring the human form of and spirit of Acrisius to life. After consenting to his supernatural and divine side, Perseus takes to his quest with more fervor and strength (Worthington 96). This is seen in the conversation with Zeus, as he points out Hades hidden motive of finally taking over mount Olympus and the rest of the gods. As a demigod, Perseus leads the war against Hades; a position that could only be taken after the accepting his divine nature, albeit as a demigod and not a full god as his father.
Indeed the movie can be divided into more stages, or contrary to this, be summed up in fewer stages. All the same, Perseus’ journey to heroism is depicted by the events that form each stage of the story. At the early stages, Perseus who has never been involved in any battle, only has anger and vengeance as his fuel for a looming war against his nemesis. From this state, he grows to eventually become the movie’s brave hero. Realization of his demigod status is what actually alters his position and perspective, giving him more belief and faith in his quest against Hades.