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Essay on A Comparison of Achilles and Hector

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In Homer’s epic, the Iliad, the legendary, has no two characters that are so similar yet so different as Greek warrior, Achilles, and the Prince of Troy, Hector. Achilles is the strongest fighter in the Greek side, and Hector is the strongest Trojan. They are both put into the mold of a hero that their respective societies have put them into; however; it is evident that they are both extremely complex characters with different roles within their society and with their families, and with the gods.
In the Greek society, Achilles has the role of the aggressive soldier. From the very first lines of the epic, we are introduced to Achilles’ murderous rage:
“Rage—Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost
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He has concubines, the main one being Breises, a captured Trojan woman who was given to him as a war prize. His love for her is established by his violent reaction to Agamemnon’s urging him to give her up.
In the Trojan society, Hector is also given a very special role – not only is he the handsome son of Priam, a prince, he is also the strongest of the fighters. This is established when Achilles himself says of Hector after killing him:
"Friends — lords of the Argives, O my captains!
Now that the gods have let me kill this man
Who caused us agonies, loss on crushing loss –
More than the rest of their men combined,” (Book 22, Line 291-294)
Hector is revered and looked up to by his people, and his status as Prince bolsters this. The Trojan’s admiration in his bravery is what keeps him fighting, knowingly putting himself in great danger and in the hands of death. Hector’s family, his wife and his son, are his other primary motivation in fighting. It is evident that he loves them both very much by the dialogue he shares with his wife, Andromache, before he leaves Troy for the last time. Although she asks him not to leave her widowed and her son orphaned, his pride overshadows her pleas:
“But 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” (Book 6, Line 62-64)
His parents, King Priam and Queen Hecuba, and his siblings, namely
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