Free College Essays - The Obligations of Hector in Homer’s Iliad

Free College Essays - The Obligations of Hector in Homer’s Iliad

Length: 790 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Obligations of Hector in Homer’s Iliad


In Homer’s Iliad, an extremely courageous and noble character is Hector, Prince of Troy.  Hector does not want war, so his decision to lead the assault on the Achaean forces may seem strange.  However, if there were a noble way out of the war, Hector might have taken it. “Without a noble escape, Hector is forced to fight”(Willcock 62).

             It does not seem to be rooted in his own belief that his brother Paris' actions are worthy of defense, or that Helen is a prize absolutely worth fighting for. In fact, although he feels fraternal affection for his brother, he reviles Paris several times for his selfishness and womanizing that has brought such grief to Troy. To Hecuba, he says "A great curse Olympian Zeus let live and grow in him [Paris], for Troy and high-hearted Priam and all his sons." (VI.334-5) He is angry at Paris, not only for the taking of Helen, but for his hiding from battle, allowing the other men of Troy to die for the trophy that Paris keeps in his bed. "You'd be the first to lash out at another -- anywhere -- you saw hanging back from this, this hateful war. Up with you -- before all Troy is torched to a cinder here and now!" he berates Paris (VI.389-90). And later, in the heat of battle, he cries again: "Paris, appalling Paris! Our prince of beauty -- mad for women, you lure them all to ruin!" (XIII.888-9)

He is not fighting, then, out of respect for his brother's right to Helen. It is not that Hector believes that he is doing the right thing according to his own perception of the situation, only the honorable one, out of duty to country. Hector also has a personal stake in the battle -- he sees fighting his hardest as the only possible means of saving his beloved wife and child. He says to Andromache: "I would die of shame to face the men of Troy . . .if I would shrink from battle now, a coward." (VI.523-5) He goes on to evoke images of a widowed and enslaved Andromache, living far from home. However, it appears that his concern here is not entirely for her pain, but for the fact that people will speak of her as the woman whose husband, although brave, was not strong enough to fight off her day of slavery.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free College Essays - The Obligations of Hector in Homer’s Iliad." 21 Aug 2018

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Hector as the Ideal Homeric Man of Homer's Iliad

- Hector as the Ideal Homeric Man of Homer's Iliad        Homer's Iliad enthralls readers with its’ valiant heroes who fight for the glory of Greece. The Iliad, however, is not just a story of war; it is also a story of individuals. Through the characters' words and actions, Homer paints portraits of petulant Achilles and vain Agamemnon, doomed Paris and Helen, loyal Patroclus, tragic Priam, versatile Odysseus, and the whole cast of Gods. Ironically, the most complete character in the epic is Hector, enemy hero, and Prince of Troy....   [tags: Iliad essays]

Research Papers
1371 words (3.9 pages)

Hector and Achilles as Classic Heroes of Homer's Iliad Essay

- Hector and Achilles as Classic Heroes of Homer's Iliad Literary heroes have been important to stories and poems throughout history. Each author develops his hero through a unique writing style, combining conscious use of detail, diction, tone and other narrative techniques to outline a hero's personality. Homer, in his epic poem The Iliad, develops two classic heroes who are distinctly different at first glance, but upon closer inspection are very similar in terms of their basic characteristics....   [tags: Iliad Essays]

Research Papers
999 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Hector as the True Hero of Homer’s Iliad

- Hector is the True Hero of Iliad        In today's society, a man's mind is his most important tool. In the past, however, a man's courage and strength is all that he had to keep him alive. In Homer's Iliad, courage is valued over honesty and even faithfulness to one's wife. If a hero is the most courageous man in the bunch, then Hector is more heroic than Achilles and King of the Myrmidons. Hector is the true hero of Homer's Iliad. Although Achilles and Hector are both leaders of men, Hector leads with a mature sense that gives his men reason to respect him....   [tags: Homer’s Iliad Essays]

Research Papers
2380 words (6.8 pages)

Hector v.s Paris Rivalry in The Liad Essay

- Throughout time, sibling have had to deal with sibling rivalry. It is been seen even as far back as the 7th or 8th century b.c.e when homer wrote the epic poem, The Iliad. In the Iliad, Homer showed us a huge sibling rivalry between the two brother Hector and Paris. He focus on these two men that both want to become a great legacy and hero. Homer’s comparison of these to characters shows there drive to become the better man. Through all of there rivalries, which include but are not limited to family, behaviour in battle, and how they relate to the gods, Hector shows that he is the more honourable man....   [tags: siblings, homer, rivalry, hector]

Research Papers
1137 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on A Comparison of Achilles and Hector

- Homer's Iliad refers to an ancient epic Greek poem. The poem is based on the events of the Trojan War, the siege of the Troy city by a combination of Greek states that took almost ten years. The poem outlines the events and battle that took place between the Greeks and the Trojans. The events captured in the poem cover a few weeks to the end of the war. However, the poem contains deep Greek mythical allusion. It describes the great Greek legends involved in the siege, the events that occurred before the actual war such as meeting of the warriors planning the siege, the reason and the foundation of the battle and the events that happened in the beginning....   [tags: The Iliad Essays]

Research Papers
865 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on A Comparison of Achilles and Hector

- In Homer’s epic, the Iliad, the legendary, has no two characters that are so similar yet so different as Greek warrior, Achilles, and the Prince of Troy, Hector. Achilles is the strongest fighter in the Greek side, and Hector is the strongest Trojan. They are both put into the mold of a hero that their respective societies have put them into; however; it is evident that they are both extremely complex characters with different roles within their society and with their families, and with the gods....   [tags: The Iliad Essays]

Research Papers
945 words (2.7 pages)

Misunderstanding when Hector Kills Achille's Cousin Essay

- This passage tells us about the aftermath of misunderstanding in the war in which Hector accidently killed the cousin of Achilles, who was in the armor of Achilles and also he had his sword. Because he practiced a lot with Achilles, his fighting style was also same. Hector at this point, thought that finally Achilles himself has entered the war and he fought with him. Cousin of Achilles was weak at this point and was killed by Hector, as he could not identify the man behind the mask. After removing the helmet, Hector immediately knew that now he has to face Achilles rage face to face and this happened next, Achilles entered the gates of Troy, fought with Hector, killed him tied to his house...   [tags: hector, achilles, liad of homer]

Research Papers
553 words (1.6 pages)

Free College Essays - The Character of Achilles in Homer's Iliad

- The Character of Achilles in Homer's Iliad The story of Homer's Iliad actually centers around the "rage of Achilles, contrary to popular belief. At first thought or reading the epic poem seems like its main theme is utlimately the totality and gruesomness of war. In reality it is an ancient "Saving Private Ryan" in that it tells us of the raw details of war without any lack of description and information. However this ultimate devistation and emotion of the actual fighting and Trojan War is not the main focal point of this heroic tale....   [tags: Iliad essays]

Free Essays
441 words (1.3 pages)

Achilles vs. Hector Essay

- Achilles vs. Hector 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....   [tags: The Iliad Essays]

Research Papers
688 words (2 pages)

Religion and Ethics in Homer’s Iliad Essay

- The Importance of Religion and Ethics in The Iliad     Homer clearly and precisely depicts the religion and the ethics of the Achian and Trojan societies in The Iliad. During the time of the Trojan war, religion played an important role in the societies. Sacrifice, prayer, and rituals were all equally significant, and the superiority of the gods and the fates above humans was a standard of society. The gods were sacred deities to whom one had to bestow honor and respect. Within the society, honor, glory, and fame were desperately sought by warriors striving to achieve enduring notoriety....   [tags: Iliad essays]

Free Essays
931 words (2.7 pages)

Related Searches

There is no dignity in giving up, so he goes off to war instead -- a war that eventually kills both Hector and his infant son.

One would expect Hector to have reservations about a war whose cause he considers ill-founded and which he is fighting only to save face and kin. But when Polydamas requests that Hector hold off a planned onslaught after an ill omen is spotted, Hector rebukes him for a coward: "Fight for your country -- that is the best, the only omen! You, why are you so afraid of war and slaughter?" (XII.281-2) His remark is strikingly similar to the attitude that many American citizens take during times of international crisis: my country, right or wrong. Whether or not you agree with the policy of the president (or the actions of the prince), you must fight alongside your other countrymen, because to do anything else would be unmanly, unpatriotic, and suspect. The wheels of war have already been set in motion by Paris' actions, and cannot be halted by a single man. Hector's primary duty, as a soldier, is to protect the community and his family in it. As an individual, he may have his doubts, but it is too late to voice them without seeming traitorous. His decision to do battle is not so strange after all. This warrior code, at once so familiar and so foreign, was a necessary cement to a nonindustrial society where a power's chances of victory were directly correlated with the number of men on the front. In our modern Western world, where battles are won largely through superior technology, open debate on the justification behind military action becomes a luxury that we can afford; not so for Troy.

If there were a noble way out of the war, Hector might have taken it. Seeing none, though, he feels obligated to clash with the Achaeans to save his city and the name of Priam, and his actions on the battlefield are some of the most brutal of any of the Trojans.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Homer: Iliad. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin Books, 1990.

Richardson, Nicholas. The Iliad : A Commentary. Vol. VI: books 21-24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1993.

Willcock, Malcolm M. A Companion to the Iliad: Based on the Translation by Richmond Lattimore. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976
Return to