Qualities of a Hero Illustrated in Homer’s Epic Poem, The Iliad

632 Words3 Pages
The Ancient Greeks idealized and worshiped their heroes, this is portrayed in Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad. To become a hero in ancient Greece, one would have to live and die in pursuit of glory and honor. Both Achilles and Hector seek victory in battle to become the “true hero.” Although both characters possess many hero-like qualities, Hector proved to be the genuine hero. Heroes are viewed differently today as the average person who is admired for courage or outstanding achievements such as firemen and police officers. The ancient Greeks viewed heroes as those that acquire more than just courage, they must be strong and inspiring as well. Although Achilles proved to be several of these entities, the Iliad begins with…show more content…
Unlike Achilles, Hector bravely stays in the battle and calls upon Achilles. As Achilles rejoins the battle, Hector cowardly runs from Achilles thus also showing an un-hero like response from Hector. As the epic poem climax’s into the battle between Achilles and Hector, both characters are in angst to whom the God’s will side with.”I know you well- I see my fate before me./Never a chance that I could win you over.../Iron inside your chest, that heart of yours./But now beware, or my curse will draw God’s wrath/upon your head, that day when Paris and lord Apollo-/for all your fighting heart-destroy you at the Scaen Gates!” (Homer 22:420-424) In this quote Hector realizes that the Gods have sided with Achilles and death is near to Hector. As Achilles pursues to kill Hector, Hector pleads for a proper burial. This is because in Ancient Greek times, it was often believed if you did not have a proper burial, you were destined to suffer between worlds until your rites of passage into the underworld were completed. The Greeks saw immortality as areté, which means excellence and virtue. This is achieved through victory in battle which Hector was not able to obtain. “But this Achilles - first he slaughters Hector,/ He rips away the noble prince's life/ then lashes him to his chariot, drags him round/ his beloved comrade's tomb. But why, I ask you?/ What good will it do him?What honor will he gain?/Let that man

More about Qualities of a Hero Illustrated in Homer’s Epic Poem, The Iliad

Open Document