Hubris in the Iliad

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In Homer's epic, The Iliad, there are many great characters, both mortal and immortal. However, no characters seem to match the greatness and importance of Achilles, the mightiest of the Greeks and Hector, Trojan prince and mightiest of the Trojans. Although they are the mightiest of their forces, their attitudes and motives for the Greek-Trojan war are completely different. Since birth, mighty Achilles was destined for greatness as Thetis, his father was told that he would bear a son greater than himself. After his birth he was granted immortality when his mother dipped him in the river Styx, however she forgot to wet his heel which ironically led to his downfall which in today's terms is known as the "Achilles heel". Since Achilles greatness was known at birth that may be the cause of his often cocky attitude in which he commits hubris. Hector on the other hand was born a prince to a noble family. Although Hector's upbringing is totally different from Achilles' by the fact that Achilles was destined a warrior, Hector is able to solidify his position in Troy by becoming the most feared of the Trojan's.

They both display behavior that could be described as heroism. The first way in which Achilles, who fights for the Greeks, and Hector, who fights for the Trojans, act differently is how they approach war and the violence and death that accompany it. Although Achilles initially doesn't want to partake in the war because of feuds with Agamemnon, the death of Patroclus, fuels him to enter the war with a deadly and vengeful mindset. Meanwhile, Hector is indecisive and reluctant about whether to take part in the war. He actually proposes a duel between his brother Paris and Menelaus to put a stop to the war.

He spends much time with his pleading wife, Andromache, who begs him not to go to war. Deep inside his mind he knows what will happen to his family if he dies. He fights for Troy and it's peoples whereas Achilles fights for himself and for revenge.

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