In the Iliad is a very interesting epic with features two main central characters that are similar in some ways but totally different in other ways. In this epic you will be introduced to Hector and Achilles. Two men from each side in the great Trojan-Greek war. They were both heroes to their people despite their clearly different contrast in their personalities. In this paper I will highlight the life of both of these two leaders of the Greek and Trojans in this epic the Iliad. Also a little will be shed of how Homer portrays the characters deeper then an average thought. I will attempt to show the complexity of his thought process in forming the climax of these two characters coming to battle.
Hector, one of the noblest characters painted by heathen antiquity in the epic of the Iliad by Homer. He felt, from the first, a presentiment of the fall of his country, but still persevered in his heroic resistance. He was a man who was willing to fight till the end. Hector’s union in marriage was with the beautiful Andromache. His traits and character as a husband and father was no less admirable than that as his as a warrior. Even though Hector was the best known, there were other principal leaders on the side of the Trojans. Besides Hector other Trojan leaders were Aeneas and Deiphobus, Glaucus and Sarpedon. If you read the Iliad you would see even in death Hector was a man who life was celebrated.
Achilles the most well- known Greek hero in the Iliad was a man of many facets. Achilles was the son of Peleus, and also served as the King of the Myrmidons in Thessaly where he lived most of his lifetime. Also Achilles was rendered invulnerable, except for the heel by which the sea nymph Thetis held him by ...
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...ous, so to speak. He knows the truth but his commitment to his social order and his sense of honor force him to fly in the face of it.
Homer does this to create a hero worthy and complex enough to be balanced against Achilles. These two heroes together represent two types of tragedy. With Hector, bearing the tragedy of a man who has all the good things in life but must lose them in the very act of defending them; and Achilles, the tragedy of the alienated hero, the man searching for everything, who, in finding it, as we shall later see, perceives that it was not worth the suffering.
1. “Achilles.” Columbia Encyclopedia 5th ed. 1993.
2. Bulfinch, Thomas Age of Fable or Beauties of Mythology: The Trojan War Chapter XXVII History of the World, 1992
3. “Achilles.” Hutchinson Dictionary of Arts 1st ed. 1998
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