“The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” – Troy
I remember watching the Troy (2004) film a year after it was released and that quote has never left my mind. I remember enjoying the movie overall in my young adolescence and was surprised by the amount of negative reviews it received. I now, of course, have matured especially when it comes to what I value in a movie. Some might consider me a movie snob as I love many foreign films, art house films and the more subtle kind that don’t need expensive CGI, stereotype gender roles and predictable plotlines. Whenever I think back to Troy I can only ever remember that quote and I don’t dare to watch it again, in fear that it will ruin my positive experience of the film. I think many of us do that with some of our childhood films and such, don’t you?
The first thought was ‘wow, how deep’ when Brad Pitt spoke the quote and my thoughts have mutated as I continue to analyse it. How could the Gods envy us? The Gods?! They have the thing that humanity strives to obtain, wishes to clutch and claim it as their own; immortality. This notion of immortality lends to many other positive attributes we generally value such as power, intelligence and courage. We would lack fear, our strongly driven animal self-preservation would not longer be haunting or skewing our choices. We would be able to do what so many of us wish to but fear the physical consequences. Jumping off a cliff for the rush, swimming down to the undiscovered bottom of the ocean or running up to the peak of Mt Everest. Simply knowing where ever you go in the world, no matter how deep, high or diseased you will survive. Time will not be your worst enemy as it has been for humanity year after year as you will surpass that. You will have all the time in the world, time to learn.
I know I personally am knowledge thirsty all the time. There is so much to learn about the world, how could I not want to be immortal to know all the languages amongst our people or to live long enough to truly understand all that exists out in space. Knowledge, for me, has always been the greatest power one can wield. Studying psychology has also helped re-enforce that for me. But of course, something destroys that desire for immortality. Others. A loved one. Your other half. But what if you could also make those close to you immortal? Afterall Brad Pitt had claimed, Gods.
So the quote baffled me. How could the Gods be envious of us? We die. We are not immortal where they are. Many would give up so much to be immortal, power-hungry individuals amongst them. Knowing how easily corruptible the human mind is when approached with power it is probably a positive that we all die at some point. Although it may not exactly sound like it I am a young woman who generally doesn’t enjoy watching romance movies because most of them are sappy, predictable and (rather bluntly) stupid. I stay clear from chick flicks and would rather an action one any day. Sappy, predictable and stupid action films also exist in the thousands no doubt but when you watch a good one the love interest is a thousand times more fascinating. Why? Well most of the ones I’ve watched that were good and have a good romantic component, death was always close and threatening.
When I was writing numerous short stories I loved tragic endings. It sounds rather morbid but I just couldn’t get enough of the rush. Reading and writing doomed love stories were the most popular when I was crazy shipping (supporting) Ron + Hermione. My hunger for the Harry Potter world wasn’t quenched simply after reading the books ^^. Even though I didn’t appreciate Romeo and Juliet when I was studying it in Highschool I have a whole new appreciation for the story. My favourite Shakespearean love of date is definitely Othello and Desdemona, tragic.
Why? Why am I as are others gripped by these tragic stories? They are depressing yet fulfilling. They hit the spot that fairy-tale-happy-ending’s can never reach. The melancholy of knowing that they are doomed makes us appreciate, savour and cling onto every tender, misunderstood and passionate moment they share before their end. It intensifies the relationship and makes everything, despite knowing that it’s not, more real.
Humans since they are only amongst themselves on this planet are possibly very vain. Since there is no other life form that can compare to the complexity in which humans are capable we can only compare ourselves to our individual and collective imagination. While I write I cannot get enough of a couple who I plan to kill one, or both. The more I write this, the more I think I should delete it as to not give everyone the wrong slightly psychotic impression of me :P. In my experiences with books and movies it is significantly more rare for me to feel the same rush of intense emotions when a couple I am connected to survive in comparison to one that dies.
The quote from Troy encapsulates a concept being explored by many writers (including ourselves) and movie makers over the years but in particular recently with the explosion of vampire love. (Personal comment and may be ignored: I absolutely loved vampires prior to this ‘explosion’ in which I found the vampire stories more about mortal-immortal love than anything substantial. Love is in all stories but… I think they’ve overdone it in many vampire novels as of late.) Humans are fascinated with this amazing concept that we cannot have, immortality yet these written works of art continue to explore the tormented supernatural being. Immortality is ultimately rarely moralised as a positive thing to have. Do we do this to ease our own egos?
I believe we blindly fantasize about immortality when we forget to value what we have. We value the past, present and future while the Gods live in this constant timeless period where these concepts cannot be valued. This life is our one and only and it’s got an expiry date.
Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed.
– Ermisenda Alvarez