Hero. A word used widely throughout Homer’s The Iliad, but interpreted differently in the eye of the beholder. Though there seems to be numerous definitions of a hero, one that can accurately define such a person is someone of distinguished courage and nobility that will put all others before themselves for the greater good of others while possessing the strength and cunningness to overcome obstacles they may be faced with. It can be seen throughout the poem that Hector possesses these qualities and therefore is portrayed as the true hero of this epic poem.
Within The Iliad, Homer seems to categorize his heroes under the same characteristics and qualifications to fit a certain lifestyle and carry themselves in a particular manner. The aim of every hero is to achieve honor, an esteem received from one’s peers. Honor is essential to Homer’s heroes; so much that life would almost be meaningless without it. A hero’s honor is determined primarily by his courage and physical abilities and to a lesser degree, by his social status and personal possessions. The highest honor, to these heroes, can only be attained from battle.
Hector, as his name indicates, heroically demonstrates himself as the holder of the Trojan army. He is a warrior of courage, honor and devotion to his homeland. He is not a warrior who recklessly seeks his own honor and glory, but rather someone who seeks glory out in order to persevere his own life and that of his people. In Bernard Knox’s introduction to the poem, he states, “He is a man who appears most himself in his relationships with others.”(33). With Hector’s refusal to Helen’s seductive advances he shows himself as one dedicated to the task in front of him—the task of defending Troy and its people from falling to the Achaean armies. Hector is a man of his country and mostly at home standing up for and defending his country.
It would difficult to say that war was in Hector’s native element, after refusing...