The Iliad and the Odyssey
The character I have chosen from The Iliad, "Book VI," is Hektor, leader of the Trojan army as being heroic. I read "Book VI" several times because I could sympathize with Hektor's choices and dilemma. Hektor will stop at nothing to help the Trojans fight the war against the Greeks and Achilleus, as the Greeks attempt to overtake Troy. Zeus promises Hektor divine help with a victory for the Trojans, but Hektor makes mistakes when he misjudges his own power and refuses to retreat. Hektor is too proud to retreat. These mistakes cause Hektor to be taken down by Achilleus. "Let me at least not die without a struggle, inglorious, but do some big thing first, that men to come shall know of it" (Mack et. al. 146). Even when Hektor knows that he cannot win against Achilleus, his attempt to win honor in battle continues, and his death is eminent.
Hektor's heroic qualities and traits include a devotion and responsibility to his country of Troy, morality, honor, courage, bravery, strength, nobility, and love for his wife, Andromache. At his last visit to his wife, Andromache pleads with Hektor not to go back to war, but Hektor replies with, "No man is going to hurl me to Hades, unless it is fated, but as for fate, I think that no man yet has escaped it once it has taken its first form, neither brave man nor coward" (Mack et. al. 91). Hektor is also very loyal to Zeus; the involvement of Gods in human affairs is very visible in Homer's writings.
My definition of heroism, as compared to the Homeric idea of a hero, is a not as complicated. I do not agree with some of the ideas Homer presents in his writings. A hero, in my eyes, should be brave, courageous, daring, and somewhat fearless. In addition, a hero may save a life, fight for their country or a cause, but should not have to die to prove his/her honor. The Homeric hero is brave, proud, and honor is ascertained by courage and physical abilities; honor is more important than their life....
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