7 February 2014
Achilles vs. Hector
Homer’s epic poem The Iliad takes place in the ninth year of the Trojan War. The epic focuses on two of the war’s greatest warriors, Achilles of the Achaeans and Hector of the Trojans. Both men are recognized as the strongest and most influential warriors within their respective communities. They share many characteristics associated with great war heroes including leadership, bravery, honor, worth, and strength. However, despite their obvious similarities, Achilles and Hector contrast each other in a number of ways. Achilles and Hector are the same when it comes to the position they hold in their communities. They both embody the greatest warrior, sharing many similarities that render them suitable for their influential positions of leadership. For example, both hold the confidence necessary to earn the trust and respect of their devoted armies. Also, both warriors possess relentlessness in battle, killing with out thought or mercy. This lack of empathy is essential for success in battle, contributing to their status as war heroes. Both characters exemplify valor, honor, and bravery, which is shown when the two men sacrifice their lives in their one on one confrontation. Another similarity between Achilles and Hector is that their fates lie at the mercy of the Gods. Both know they are going to die in battle. The main difference between Achilles and Hector is the motive for each of them to fight. Achilles fights out of rage while Hector fights for his sense of duty. Achilles, being headstrong and overwhelmed with pride is ruled by uncontrollable passion and rage. His deep-seated self-pride and anger works as a flaw to his character. Hector is far more even-tempered when it comes to his fighting. He is much more noble, motivated by the sole purpose of honoring and protecting his city and people. Unlike Achilles who fights for his own selfish intentions, Hector is a true patriot who fights for the interest of his people. For Hector, war is an evil thing, resulting in him fighting bravely but reluctantly. Contrasting this mindset, Achilles loves war and lives for the violence and bloodshed it brings with it. Achilles and Hector are alike in their skill and position of leadership. Both demonstrate valor, honor, and worth. They differ in their motives and perspectives of war. Hector fights because he feels it’s his duty to protect his city and people, Achilles fights for his own self-interest and extreme rage. Hector distastes war and longs for eventual peace, while Achilles thrives off war and lives for the violence. I personally believe Hector is more heroic. He fights selflessly for his people, even when he learns that the collective will of the gods is against him. Achilles could care less about his people, and stops fighting at one point for his own personal issues. If Achilles were a true hero, he wouldn’t let his pride and anger get in the way of defending his city and people. Achilles acts on the basis of personal code and has little concern for how his actions may affect his community at large. Hector is a far more relatable character being that he has more human-like attributes and emotions, while Achilles lacks ordinary human feelings.