Iliad by Homer

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What is a hero, and what is a true hero? In the Greek society, as perceived in Homer’s Iliad, to be a hero is to be “publicly recognized for one's valour on the battlefield” and to have a prize with it (Sale). In other words, a hero is someone who fights for his own fame and glory. However, the modern perception of a hero is quite different. A hero is someone who do not endeavor to become a hero, but someone who act in admirable ways, often for the better of everyone else. The modern concept of heroism is what defines a true hero. Achilles is a hero in the Iliad, because of the Greek’s perception of heroism. However, Achilles is not a true hero; Hector is the true hero in the Iliad. Morality is the key to real heroism, and Hector is an ethical and honorable hero. Hector is a great son to Priam. He shows strong feelings for the Trojans by fighting for them in a war that his brother started in the first place. He is also great husband and father showing devotion to his wife. For instance, when Helen asks Hector to “come here and rest upon this couch with [her]”, he refuses saying that “he must go home to visit…[his] own dear wife and [his] small son” (6.412-413 & 426-427). When Andromache tries to convince Hector to stay and “do not bereave [his] child and widow [her]”, Hector chooses to fight (6.501-504). Even though he knew that Achilles was “more powerful by far” than he is and “pitiless”, Hector still fight for his family and people (22.48-49). Hector loves his family and his city so much that he tries to save it despite knowing it is destined to fall. These are the human characteristics that Achilles lacks. Overall, Hector is the better man all around. Along with being a great son, father, husband, prince, and soldier, he treat... ... middle of paper ... ... father, and a husband too. To be a hero, one must have both human and heroic qualities in complete equilibrium, and Hector was capable of that. Works Cited Gray, Wallace. "Homer: 'Iliad'." Homer to Joyce. Wallace Gray. Macmillan Publishing Company, 1985. 1-16. Rpt. in World Literature Criticism, Supplement 1-2: A Selection of Major Authors from Gale's Literary Criticism Series. Ed. Polly Vedder. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. Hurt, James. Wilkie, Brian. “The Iliad.” Literature of the Western World: The Ancient World Through the Renaissance. 5th ed. Vol. 1. Ed. Leah Jewell. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2001. 131-272. Print. Sale, William Merritt. "Homer: Overview." Reference Guide to World Literature. Ed. Lesley Henderson. 2nd ed. New York: St. James Press, 1995. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.

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