Ben-Hur's success encouraged the publication of other historical At least eight translations of the book into Hebrew were made. Messala is a fictional character from Lew Wallace's novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, and its film adaptations, where he appears as the main antagonist. Start by marking “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ” as Want to Read: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ () by Lew Wallace is one of the most popular and beloved 19th century American novels. Lewis "Lew" Wallace was a lawyer, governor, Union general in the American Civil War, American.
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This is a great classic, and the number one selling novel in the US in the 19th century. It is the original, without 20th century "improvements". The style is very old. Generations have thrilled to the sacred destiny of the mighty charioteer Ben-Hur, whose enduring tale began as a bestselling novel that later inspired. When Judah Ben-Hur's childhood friend, Messala, returns from school, indoctrinated by Roman teachings, he cruelly mocks Ben-Hur's Jewish beliefs.
It became required reading in grade schools across the United States. For those who considered theater sinful, the spectacle of the Broadway version lured them in for twenty-one years, not to mention the touring show that required four entire trains to transport all the scenery and livestock. One reverend from San Francisco, who had never attended a play, was finally tempted into seeing the much-hyped production.
Yet he was won over enough to declare that he would return to the theater again. The book made Lew Wallace a celebrity, sought out for speaking engagements, political endorsements, and newspaper interviews.
There you have the genius of the true American in those four—art, literature, invention, music. Not coincidentally, Lew Wallace himself excelled at all four. Besides being a Civil War hero, the governor of New Mexico, and later the ambassador to Turkey, the Indiana native made and played his own violins, sketched and painted with skill, and held eight patents for various inventions, including a retractable reel hidden inside a fishing rod handle.
But it was in literature that Wallace truly made his mark. He is the only novelist honored in the National Statuary Hall of the U. And it seemed to work.
At nineteen, Wallace went to fight in the Mexican War. He returned a veteran, a respectable member of society, and as a young lawyer strove to win the favor of his future wife, Susan Elston, sister-in-law of U. Senator Henry S. Susan would prove to be an invaluable partner to Wallace as a sounding board and editor. She was a writer in her own right, publishing six books two were illustrated by Wallace , including much poetry.
As the Civil War commenced, Wallace was again called to duty. He rose through the ranks quickly and at thirty-four became the youngest man in the Union Army to achieve the rank of Major General.
But he was scapegoated for the huge losses at Shiloh, where thirteen thousand Union soldiers died in , the largest toll then seen in the war. Soon after, Wallace was relieved of his command. Later, he redeemed himself at the Battle of Monocacy, where he was able to hold off the Confederate army long enough to prevent the capture of Washington, D. Wallace often told the story of how in he met on a train the well-known agnostic Colonel Robert Ingersoll. After hours of conversation in which Ingersoll questioned the evidence for God, heaven, Christ, and other theological concepts, Wallace came away realizing how little he knew about his own religion.
In true lawyer style, he hit the books: First the Bible, and then every reference book about the ancient Middle East he could find.
He suspected that a novel about Jesus Christ would be scrutinized by experts, so the plants, birds, clothes, food, buildings, names, places—everything had to be exact. I wrote with a chart always before my eyes—a German publication showing the towns and villages, all sacred places, the heights, the depressions, the passes, trails, and distances.
He provided detail after detail on the design of Persian versus Greek versus Roman chariots. He did everything short of going to Jerusalem himself.
He broke with myth and opted toward accuracy. There is no manger in a barn in this nativity scene.
He goes to great length describing the khan, an inn of sorts named for its Persian origins, which was mostly an enclosed area chosen for shade and water. In another familiar Biblical scene, on the banks of the Jordan, where John the Baptist blesses Jesus, we see the scene through the eyes of Ben-Hur, who is suspicious of the unwashed, unkempt John and also of a supposed king dressed as a modest rabbi and covered in dust.
Wallace placed the chariot race in the circus in Antioch the film located the race in Jerusalem, a city that never actually held a stadium. Sometimes Wallace spoke directly to the reader: Ben-Hur frantically catches bits of information and gossip, and not knowing how it will end or what to make of it. I have heard him speak.
I was at the crucifixion. I am not a member of any church or denomination, nor have I ever been. Not that churches are objectionable to me, but simply because my freedom is enjoyable, and I do not think myself good enough to be a communicant.
Wallace prided himself on scrupulously following the Bible in depicting the words and acts of Christ, except for this one scene.
The giving a cup of water to Ben-Hur at the well near Nazareth is the only violation of this rule. I would be religiously careful that every word He uttered should be a literal quotation from one of His sainted biographers. Wallace wrote and wrote and wrote, one day from 10 a.
Following the Lincoln County War, Wallace granted amnesty to the outlaw Billy the Kid in return for his testimony in court. The deal turned sour when the district attorney refused to set Billy free. In the Broadway play. Messala was portrayed by William S. Hart who went on to greater fame starring in western movies.
In the silent film Messala was portrayed by Francis X. Bushman as an ambitious and ruthless Roman who ceased to care for Ben-Hur long before being reunited with him. In the film Messala was portrayed by Stephen Boyd. Messala dies of multiple injuries sustained in the chariot race - when his attempt to destroy Judah's chariot fails. After the chariot race, Judah sees his rival and former friend.
In his final moments Messala informs him that his mother and sister are not dead - but are in the Valley of the Lepers.
Thinking, due primarily to his childhood memories, that Messala was once a good man who ultimately became corrupted by Rome, Judah comes to forgive him when he says to Pilate it is his opinion that his mother and sister's current condition was not Messala's deed. Messala's mistress Iras does not appear in the film, nor is she mentioned. In contrast with the version, Boyd's Messala appears delighted when he hears that Judah has come to see him and still cares for his childhood friend, before they ultimately have a falling out over their different beliefs.
In the book, Messala does not tell Judah that his mother and sister are alive.
Another difference between the book and the film is that Messala and Gratus taking the Hur family wealth is not part of the film's plot.
In the animated film, Messala was voiced by Duncan Fraser. The character is quite different to the film. In this version he asks Ben-Hur for forgiveness before witnessing the Crucifixion with Judah and his family. In the television miniseries , Messala was played by Stephen Campbell Moore. In the film adaption , Messala's background is largely changed from his original version. He is a Roman orphan adopted by Ben-Hur's father and raised as his brother and has a romantic interest with Tirzah, Ben-Hur's younger sister.
His grandfather was accused of betraying Julius Caesar and crucified. This has given him an urge to earn his own reputation. After becoming a Roman officer, he returns to Jerusalem only to find himself stuck in a dilemma between friendship with Judah and loyalty to the Romans.
In the end of film, he reconciles with Ben-Hur. The character was portrayed by Toby Kebbell. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.