The Iliad Essay: A Hero And A Coward

Improved Essays
“A Hero and a Coward” The period in which the events in The Iliad took place were different than the times of today. Back then, the Greeks and Romans most important characteristic of life was to be a remembered hero. In the present day, this concept would be thought of as irrational or egotistical. Pride created the downfall of all characters in Homer 's epic poem, The Iliad. In the epic, two generals face off in the Trojan War. Leading the Greeks, Agamemnon proves to be incapable and inept at guiding his men. Hector, however, leads the Trojans with bravery and ferocity. When comparing the two commanders, Hector proves to be the superior compared to Agamemnon because of his bravery in combat, motivational skills, and honor. First, Hector …show more content…
He kills Achilles’s apprentice Patroclus, who is a tough warrior in his own right. Even though Hector does run during his final battle with Achilles, he eventually stops running and fights till his death. He decides this fate earlier in the war and stays to his word, “If Achilles really has risen up again and wants to come out, he’ll find it tough going, for I will be there. I, for one, am not retreating. Maybe he’ll win, maybe I will. The War God doesn’t care which one he kills” (Homer 234). He shows bravery even though he knows that his death is coming. In result of Hectors excessive pride, his death and the loss of his fellow warriors. Agamemnon lives through the war by hiding during battle, but Hector fights till the very end. It shows the total difference between these two characters, who assumingly are the antipodes of each other: Hector is a brave commander, who has a dignity and skills in the battle, and Agamemnon, who does not care about his army and hides behind their backs during the battle. Hector’s leadership ability far surpasses Agamemnon because of his motivational skills. Agamemnon struggles with rallying his troops. Achilles gives him a particular problem because Agamemnon becomes selfish about the women. Hector, however, has no real issue with motivating his men. He even forces Paris to fight despite Paris’s cowardice. He can command his men because they respect

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Even the Olympian Gods, who observe the Trojan War as it unfolds, at one point observe that though Hector is a man beloved by heaven, he is being foolishly chased by a stronger warrior and his death was preordained. The most significant of these examples is that of Hector himself. He is presented as the main protagonist in this piece, as it mostly follows his thoughts, actions, and relatives. He is the powerful Trojan hero that many admire, yet he hints numerous times that he expects to die in battle against Achilles. The first time he displayed fear of Achilles was when he reconsidered his…

    • 1227 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Achilles threatens to leave the war front if his role as a warrior is only “brimming (Agamemnon’s) cup and piling (his) plunder” (1.202). Because of this rash statement, Achilles leaves the battlefield out of pride. And while he started the argument for the good of the Achaeans, he only ends up hurting his cause because of his…

    • 737 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This scene depicts hector preparing for battle with Achilles. While he is taking off his armor he is then killed while he is unarmed. The imagery of ‘goodly armor’, or armor with lavish décor, is symbolic of wealth and power hiding the corruption of the state that he was fighting for. All along hector had the lust for power and valor, not justice. He was fighting in a war on behalf of his brothers for reasons he initially opposed to, but then was seduced into as soon as they questioned his honor.…

    • 902 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    A common assumption is that the Iliad is merely a tale that celebrates the conquests of great warriors who create legacies for themselves and their families. In reality, beneath the idea of a legacy is a negative side. The epic poem is written so that the famous are the ones who experience the greatest misery because they are trapped by public opinion. In the Iliad, Homer subverts the ancient Greek trope that legacies are crucial to a fulfilling life. One of the most complex characters in the novel, Hector is at first a man of honor and nobility, but eventually gives way to his dark legacy.…

    • 1591 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Though he may be selfless in fighting for the Trojans, he is vengeful and disrespectful. Since Achilles’ selfishly decided to stop fighting for the Achaeans, his best friend Patroclus took his place. In Book Sixteen Achilles permits Patrolcus to wear his armor during battle because it would help raise morale, but it also made him a target. Hector kills Patroclus, believing him to be Achilles, and then steals his armor to get revenge on him for killing his wife’s family. This deed characterizes Hector as vengeful, because he is unable to forgive Achilles for wronging him and instead he steals his armor.…

    • 1005 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Achilles Tragic Hero

    • 1115 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Hector supports and defends Paris for taking Helen, even though that causes this terrible conflict to start. Also Hector 's act of duty gives Hector the courage to fight Achilles. Hector knew that Achilles was the better fighter, but Hector fought anyway because that is what an honorable Trojan is supposed to do. Hector faced death at first with some cowardice. Achilles chased Hector around the city a few times before the actual battle ensued.…

    • 1115 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Terrible leaders are cowardly and selfish when faced with great challenges. The best leader in the Iliad is Hector and the worst is his brother Paris. Being courageous in the face of great danger and challenge is a sign of a great leader. Without courage a leader cannot hope to have their men follow them into battle as well as expect…

    • 1242 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    But mercy would not be found in this battle Achilles thought to himself. As both warriors feel the pain of their wounds and fatigue of the battle they charge in a last effort to finish each other off, Achilles pierces Hector “where collarbones lift the neckbone off the shoulders, the open throat, where the end of life comes quickest” (160-161). The blow, however does not kill Hector and Achilles’ transformation is soon to be…

    • 1409 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Achilles fights for the for the Greeks, but eventually locks himself away from everyone and due to his anger and pride towards Agamemnon and the decision he made dealing with captured prisoner Chrysies. This ends up being a problem for the Greeks because Achilles is the Greeks greatest warrior. Most of their victories are counted due to him. In this situation Achilles acts like a mercenary, picking and choosing his battle unlike a soldier who follows orders regardless of the commander. Solders are known to stay loyal to their cause, but due to Achilles pride he feels he doesn’t have remain loyal to Greek Army, and has the right to refuse any orders from his commander.…

    • 989 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    You now no man dispatches me into thee under gloom against my fate; no mortal, either can escape his fate, coward of brave man, once he comes to be (J 205-210) In this speech Hector, is trying to comfort his wife Andromache, because of his upcoming fate of death. This is when he truly accepts the possibility of death. Furthermore, his acceptance of fate brings courage and strength to his heart, and gives a feeling to fullfill his duty as a Trojan prince and as a warrior. Achilles also accepts his fate: Now I must go to look for the destroyer of my great friend. I shall confront the dark dear spirit of death at any hour Zeus and the other gods may wish to make an end (Q 65-68).…

    • 1570 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays