Hector and Achilles as Classic Heroes of Homer's Iliad Essay

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Hector and Achilles as Classic Heroes of Homer's Iliad




Literary heroes have been important to stories and poems throughout history. Each author develops his hero through a unique writing style, combining conscious use of detail, diction, tone and other narrative techniques to outline a hero's personality. Homer, in his epic poem The Iliad, develops two classic heroes who are distinctly different at first glance, but upon closer inspection are very similar in terms of their basic characteristics. Hector and Achilles both are courageous soldiers, relatively honorable men, and respected leaders, but they also both have human failings that eventually lead to tragedy. In Homer's lyrical verses and in his
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A second characteristic that defines a hero in The Iliad is that they are generally honorable men and very respected by the people that surround them. Hector and Achilles are both strong and fearless soldiers, and because of this they are looked up to and depended upon by the Trojans and the Achaeans. When either hero speaks, the people around him listen and obey. Often, Homer sets off the words "He spoke..."(149;Book1) from the rest of a stanza, conveying a sense of power and authority that the two heroes exert when they speak. Another example of Homer's use of meter to show that the heroes were well respected comes from when Achilles asks his friend Patroclus to go into battle in place of Achilles to help the failing Greek army. Homer writes, "He spoke, and Patroclus/ Obeyed his dear friend..."(325-326;Book 1). The word "obeyed" is set off from the line before it, emphasizing the fact that Achilles has a certain power over his friends and fellow soldiers, and that he is loved and respected by them. Hector is also held in high esteem by his fellow Trojans, as well as the Greeks, as shown when he proposes the duel between Paris and Menelaus during the battle in Book 3. Hector bravely steps out between the two armies and holds the Trojan line back while the Achaeans try to strike him with arrows and stones until Agamemnon says, "...No more shooting, you men of Achaea! For it seems/ That bright-helmeted Hector has something
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