Hector: a Homeric Hero

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Sarah Barry
Mr. Anderson
English 11/ Period 6
18 August 2011
Hector the Humane
To be a “Homeric Hero” is to have a “nobleness of character, exalted above that of ordinary men” (Renehan 99). Hector is considered to be a hero because of the fact that the Trojans revered him and recognized Hector as the finest Trojan warrior. Hector’s interactions with Paris in Book 3 show that Hector is a brave man and does not accept cowardice from any warrior, including himself.

In Book 3, Paris challenges any Greek warrior to fight him. When King Menelaus, the rightful husband of Helen accepts the challenge, Paris becomes scared and does not want to fight. To this act of timidity Hector says, “Despicable Paris, handsomest of men, but woman-mad seducer. How I wish you had never been born or died unmarried. That’s what I’d prefer, so much better than to live in shame. Can you now not face Menelaus?” (3.21-25). This proves heroism, not in the sense of physical prowess or fighting skill, but in an emotional concept. By saying this, Hector forces his brother, Prince Paris, to fight against Menelaus. Though Hector knows he could be sending his brother to his death, he puts Troy first.

In Book 22, King Priam and Queen Hecuba try to dissuade their son Hector from fighting against Achilles. In Homer’s words, “So they wept, the two of them crying out to their dear son, both pleading time and again but they could not shake the fixed resolve of Hector” (22. 1-3). I think this is courageous on Hector’s part. He is so set on saving his city that he is willing to die a brutal death by battling Achilles. Later in the book, Hector holds a mental argument with himself. He contemplates taking refuge behind the impenetrable walls of Troy. However, he quickly distinguishes the cowardice of the action and decides to attempt to “talk-it-out” with Achilles. That doesn’t go over so well and Hector becomes terrified when he sees the awesomeness of Achilles. He ends up being chased around the...
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