Greek Heroes in Popular Culture Through Time: Track 1

Featuring: Video Video Audio Audio

What does ‘2001: a Space Odyssey’ have to do with Odysseus? How does Brad Pitt's Achilles in 'Troy' match up to Homer's original hero? And is Arnold Schwarzenegger the new Heracles? This collection of video animations and audio discussions examines how the heroes of Greek mythology have been represented in popular culture, from ancient times to the modern day. Odysseus is the archetypal questing hero - a blank canvas on which every era has projected its own values. Heracles is the original strongman. And Achilles is the fighter whose sexuality vies with his heel for popular attention. The videos mix archive film and TV clips with character animation, bringing a playful approach to classical myth, while the audio discussions shine a more scholarly light on how today’s popular culture sees these myths differently from the Ancient Greeks.

By: The iTunes U team (Programme and web teams)

  • Duration 1 hour
  • Updated Monday 10th October 2011
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under History & The Arts
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Track 1: Achilles

Achilles discusses how his sexuality has been perceived by Hollywood in and how everyone seems to just concentrate on his poorly heel!


© The Open University 2011


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Achilles    Achilles discusses how his sexuality has been perceived by Hollywood in and how everyone seems to just concentrate on his poorly heel! Play now Achilles
2 Achilles discussion    The lowdown on what popular culture chooses to keep in its portrayals of the Greek hero Achilles … and what gets left out. Play now Achilles discussion
3 Heracles    Heracles, the famous demi-god, drops by to assert what his macho image really means by talking us through clips of Arnie, Popeye, Steve Reeves and Kevin Sorbo. Play now Heracles
4 Heracles discussion    The changing portrayals of Heracles: how the ancient Greeks’ bad boy turns to virtuous saviour by the C19th, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the C20th. Play now Heracles discussion
5 Odysseus    Odysseus, famed for his 10 year journey home, joins us with his wife Penelope discussing how the legacy of his long voyage has been portrayed by the Coen Brothers, James Joyce, Tennyson and George Melies. Play now Odysseus
6 Odysseus discussion    From personal odyssey to space odyssey, the myth of Odysseus keeps cropping up. What is it about this hero that makes him so pervasive? Play now Odysseus discussion

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