Achilles and Hector – Two Mighty Heroes of Ancient Times…

Iliad, written by half-legendary Greek epic poet Homer, describes the last year of the Trojan War and the siege of the city of Troy (Iliad) by Greeks. The conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon makes the central conflict of the epic.

This conflict influences the course of the war, since Achilles refuses to fight for Greeks and they nearly lose the war.

Achilles joins his army back when his best friend Patroclus is killed by the Trojan prince Hector. After the death of his friend Achilles joins back the army and finally kills Hector. The book contains a lot of realistic depictions of war and battle scenes. It is so precious not only because of complicated conflicts between the main characters, but also because it enables to present the entire epoch of the Greek history.

Homer does not show his attitude to the characters he describes. He retells the events as an impartial judge. His   Iliad is aimed to depict the perfection of Greek people. Homer depicts people and their inner world and complex relations between these people and multiple gods which influence their fortunes.

Despite Homer does not give his judging to his characters, the readers can very easily distinguish between the  protagonist and antagonist of the epics. Achilles, a brave hero and strong leader of his people is opposed to Hector.

Hector is not depicted like a villain and we can see their withstanding as a battle between two noble rivals.

Both, Achilles and Hector are influential leaders, but they use different approaches when they communicate with other people. Achilles behaves like a generous and noble person.  He sweeps away his pride and courtesy, when hears about the death of this best friend. Achilles has strong inner principles and morals, which reflect the spirit of the epoch. Achilles knows that he will die in the battle field but still takes part in the war led by the desire to revenge for the death of his best friend. Achilles consciously chooses the way of war leaving his mother, Thetis:”Now I shall go, to overtake that killer of a dear life, Hektor; the I will accept my own death, at whatever time Zeus wishes to bring it about, and the other immortals” (Homer).

Hector is not so persistent in his desire to enter the war. Hector thinks that this war can bring nothing good to both sides and does not support it. He also knows from the prediction that he will probably die in the battlefield and he has a lot of doubts whether to go there or not. When in the battlefield, Hector knows no fear and it seems that he is not afraid of anything, he leads his people “…like some fierce tempest that swoops down upon the sea….”,  but the situation changes when he displays his ordinary personality traits out of battlefield (Homer, Book XXII). When finally Hector is involved into fight and faces Achilles, he takes a decision to  fight till the last moment and to die with dignity. “My doom has come upon me; let me not then die ingloriously and without a struggle, but let me first do some great thing that shall be told among men hereafter”(Homer, Book XXII).

Despite differences, these two characters show  many similar features. They are both true heroes, who know no fear.

They stay fearless in the face of death. They both follow their inner truth when go to the war. They both know they will die but this does not stop them. Both these characters behave like heroes and show example to their armies. For many centuries the characters of Achilles and Hector became an example of noble warriors and fearless defenders of their people.

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