Essay about The Iliad, Chaos Reigns Supreme

Essay about The Iliad, Chaos Reigns Supreme

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Throughout the Iliad, chaos reigns supreme. It courses through the veins of every character and is an integral part of every storyline, carving out a meandering path until eventually reaching an ordered end. This chaos affects each entity in a unique way; for some, like Achilles, it helps them to thrive, but for others, it can lead them astray and corrupt their character. Thus is the case of Hector, who initially is a humble, family-oriented man, fighting for his city for purely selfless reasons. However, as his chaotic story winds on, he becomes tempted by the prospect of fame and personal glory and lets his pride get the best of him. The joy of being respected and bringing great honor to one’s name proved to be too tempting even for humble Hector to resist, and this is a point that it seems Homer intentionally made, that even the most pure and selfless men can be swayed by the prospect of fame and honor.
The man named Hector to whom we are initially introduced is an inherently good man, who is devoted to his family and to the noble city of Troy. He never shows a trace of arrogance, even when he achieves victory despite his impulsive and reckless tendencies. While the powerful Achilles fought to appease his own pride and rage, the humble Hector fought to defend these, his two greatest loves. It is in this way that we see that each of these two men, both the most prominent warriors in their respective armies, is a direct opposite of the other. Perhaps it is one of the most famous scenes in not only Hector’s life, but in the entirety of the Iliad, that best portrays Hector’s identity as the true “family man” of the war. It is the tender moment in Book 6 that Hector exchanges with his wife, Andromache, and their son, Astyanax, when,...


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...ave been an ordered, although tragic, end to this storyline is ruined and made to be chaotic by the selfish and enraged Achilles, a theme that is seen countless times throughout the epic.
In the end, Hector transitions from a modest man, motivated primarily by his love for his family and his city, to an overly proud, somewhat selfish warrior with a fondness for achieving personal glory. The prospect of reaching fame and being honored by all was too great an appeal for even this good-natured man to resist, a point almost definitely made intentionally by Homer, that in the face of chaos and warfare, even those who are seemingly pure of heart can be corrupted. Hector’s story exemplifies a common way that humans react to warfare and the influence that pride can have on a person’s ego, which are just a few reasons why this epic truly has relevance long beyond its epoch.

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