Definition Of Honor In The Iliad By Homer

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An overwhelming argument throughout Homer’s classic work The Iliad is the definition of honor. Achilles’ self-seeking glory indirectly defines honor as the means of achieving individual glory. However, Hector, through self sacrifice in the face of destiny, proves in the final moments of his life that honor resides in the service of others. Before the imminent battle begins, clear indicators already present how the brawl between Achilles and Hector shall end. The Greeks strike Troy with newfound power as Achilles returns to their ranks. The Trojans are left exhausted from battle, “glazed with sweat like winded deer” (line 2). Already, there is a distinct impression as to who shall claim victory. Hector and Achilles are reflected by the current …show more content…
The young prince, whose affair with Helen started the war, spends his time lounging in his suite while others die. He does not take responsibility, shows no acknowledgment of fault, and, when he is instigated by Hector to join battle, “[comes] down. . . gleaming like amber and laughing in his armor” (Book VI; Lines 539-541). In contrast, Hector is almost noble to a fault. Despite the pleadings of his wife to stay off the battlefield, he quickly respondes that “war is the work of men, of all the Trojan men, and [his] especially (Book VI; Lines 517-518). While Paris uses his privilege to excuse himself from the fight, Hector recognizes his duty to the people and sacrifices for …show more content…
It is no coincidence that the previous character who shared a separated comparison is Achilles. Like a thoroughbred stretching it out Over the plain for the final sprint home--
Achilles’ simile presents purpose, determination, and strength. Hector’s presents pinned desperation, literal and figurative. The match for the fight is well made, certainly, but the fact that the thoroughbred’s presence immediately ruptures wailing from Hector’s parents does not paint a promising picture. The inevitability of this fight would normally suggest a fight without interest; however, The Iliad triumphs in creating quite the opposite. Though the reader knows who will win, it makes the loser more virtuous and more pitiable in their eyes. Hector ignores all sympathies, all promises of safety, to stand his ground against a more powerful opponent. Hector fights to the end because it is the right thing to do. The self sacrifice for his city cements the true definition of honor, that is stands only for others and not when it stands for the individual

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