Hector and Achilles

Topics: Iliad, Achilles, Andromache Pages: 3 (872 words) Published: February 5, 2014

Hector and Achilles: protagonist and antagonist

“The lights of stars that were extinguished ages ago still reach us. So it is with great men who died centuries ago, but still reach us with the radiations of their personalities.” -Kahlil Gibran Greek literature and mythology present two epic warriors in the Iliad: Hector and Achilles. The modern Greeks favored both heroes during their ancient time period. In Greek, Héktōr literally means “to hold” or “to have,” which symbolizes his character as he who holds everything together. On the other hand, the name Achilles represents a combination of “grief” and “a nation, people, tribe,” and this can be decoded as the sorrow of a nation. Achilles fights for the Greeks, while Hector defends the Trojans. Though the names Achilles and Hector have different meanings, the actual characters may be similar. When the adventures of Hector and Achilles collide, there is little distinction between their outward appearances; however, they have different identities. The model of the chivalrous warrior is Homer’s Hector, prince of the Trojans. He is faithful to Troy during war when he exclaims, “I would die of shame to face the men of Troy and the Trojan women trailing their long robes if I would shrink from battle now, a coward. Nor does the spirit urge me on that way. I've learned it all too well. To stand up bravely, always to fight in the front ranks of Trojan soldiers, winning my father great glory” (Iliad 210). This proves his loyalty to fellow Trojans. One day it is recorded that no Greek can stand against him in battle. The valor of Hector sparks momentum in his warriors. Also, Hector demonstrates no fear as he battles Ajax, a massive Greek giant, and trades him blow for blow. Yet, as fierce and stout as Hector can be, he is also humane. He respects his elderly parents, shows compassion and remains an equal with his wife Andromache, and he is a kind-hearted father. A great example is depicted in the Iliad where Hector...
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