3 April 2011
Most Honorable Character: Hector or Achilles?
Honor: honesty, fairness, or integrity in one 's beliefs and actions; this is the definition by which these two characters, Hector and Achilles, ought to be judged. By taking this definition to heart, Achilles is far from honorable. Throughout the Iliad, Achilles acts on rage and revenge. “Rage-Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaens countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters’ souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds…” (1, 1-5) From the beginning of the epic the reader learns of Achilles rage and wants for blood. Achilles fights only for himself and his own glory. Hector, on the other hand is fighting for the lives and liberty of his countrymen. He thinks of himself very little and seeks to please his family and country in every possible way. He believes in his country and is responsible for his actions. Therefore, by this definition, Hector is the more honorable character in the Iliad.
Achilles possesses great strength and holds the place as the mightiest warrior in the Achaean army and has all the attributes of a legendary warrior. These characteristics of Achilles are, unfortunately, all he has to attribute to being honorable. Other than these, his characteristics show a dark side of this warrior. His flaws far outweigh his good. His flaws constantly interfere with acts of integrity and nobility. Achilles is self centered, prideful, and spiteful. He is easily angered when his pride is shot down. None of these are attributes of an honorable man.
This anger of Achilles is so bad that he even abandons his fellow soldiers and prays that they will be all slaughtered because his commander belittled him. Achilles is motivated primarily by one thing, a thriving search for glory. Half of him wants to live a long, easy, prosperous life, but