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Comparison of Hector and Achilles

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Essay title: Comparison of Hector and Achilles

In the Iliad, warriors participate in war as a way of defending their land and people. They try to win glory in battle and each have certain strengths and weaknesses which are displayed throughout the book. Examples of such warriors are Achilles and Hector. These two men have obvious differences in their approaches to fitting the mold of what a great warrior should be. However, despite their differences and the fact that they are fighting against each other on opposing armies, they also have numerous similar traits.

The Achaean warrior Achilles and Troy’s warrior Hector differ mainly in their approach to the war. Although Achilles has ties to the Gods and isn’t somewhat more superior in mortality to Hector, he comes of as less heroic. He has all the makings a great hero but even though he is considered one of the mightiest Achaean warriors, he has flaws that impair his judgments in regards to fighting. For Achilles, fighting wars is all about attaining Kleas and Time; this state of mind hinders his ability to act out of nobility. As a result, he comes of as being egotistical and is sensitive when his pride is in jeopardy of being bruised. Even though he wants to live a long life filled with honor and glory, Achilles knows that his fate leads him to death and the possibility of a lasting life was not in his future. So ultimately, he is willing to sacrifice his life only so that his name will be remembered.

While Achilles’ main drive for fighting to have his name remembered, Hector’s motivation is more deep-rooted. For Hector, fighting against the Achaeans is all about preventing the fall of his land; his pride is subdued in order to maintain his loyalty to his homeland and its people. Hector’s loyalty is evident in the Iliad as he returns home to Troy in book 6. It is in book 6 that despite the pleas from his mother and his wife Andromache,

“Pity me, Please! Take your stand on the rampart here,

Before you orphan your son and make your wife a widow.”

Hector returns to battle even with the knowledge that his wife believes he would be making her a widow and his son fatherless. He does not want to die and as a result widow Andromache, leaving her "at the loom of another man" but his main drive evidentially is to protect his family and his people, even if it would mean he would have to die trying.

Although they initially approached the war with a differing frame of mind, Achilles knew that he was fated to be killed in battle, but when his devoted friend Patroclus is killed, he has what would be considered a “change of heart” and approaches the war not in seeking time, but in seeking revenge for the fall of his beloved friend. Similarly, Hector also exhibits a change but unlike Achilles, Hector’s change can be considered hindering. In book seventeen, Hector is seen twice temporarily becoming “a shadow of his former self” as he displays his fearfulness. However, he is able to retain himself, but it is only as the result of receiving insults from his fellow companions Aeneas and Glaucus.

In Book Twenty-One, Hector and

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