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The Illiad: Heroism Essay

624 words - 3 pages

The definition of heroism is almost universally clear. It is usually the characteristic of a person who triumphs over some type of evil nemesis, or a person who is constantly rescuing people in distress. Nowadays a hero can be looked at as a person who serves his duty to his country by going to war and receiving special honors for doing so. Ancient Greece also viewed a hero by holding these standards. In the epic poem The Iliad, by Homer, Achilles and Hector are both heroic characters, but Hector is more heroic for various reasons.One reason Hector is heroic to a greater extent than Achilles is because he was able to face-up to going to fight for the honor of Troy. Achilles only fought when he knew for sure he was going to win. In the book "The Rage ...view middle of the document...

Hector was noble enough to fight for the honor and protection of the people of Troy. The only reason Achilles ever fought in the first place was because Agamemnon, the king of kings asked him to. Achilles was fighting for a cause that didn't affect him. Having a just cause is a valid reason that Hector is more heroic than Achilles.Achilles was easily the better fighter and defeated the Hector in single combat. Achilles wouldn't have defeated Hector without the help of Athene, who lured Hector out of the safety of the walls of Troy. When this scene took place, Hector proposed to agree to a truce between Achilles and himself. Since both cultures believed in honoring death, Hector wanted to be returned to his people in the event of his death and would honor Achilles by also returning his body if he died. With Athene's help, he killed Hector and morbidly dishonored his body. Achilles dragged Hector's body behind his chariot around the walls of Troy. This action makes Achilles look even less heroic because being a hero has a great deal to do with honor and his pride blinded him to be unable to distinguish the difference between right and wrong. If Hector were the one to win the battle, he would have swallowed his pride and feelings of anger and returned Achilles' body.Achilles and Hector are both heroic characters, but Hector is more heroic because he fought all the way through, the cause for which he was fighting, and because in his heart he was just more honorable. If a hero is a person who serves his duty to his country by going to war, and killing people, then what really is the definition of a hero? The Iliad, by Homer, leads his readers to ponder that question about heroism, honor and how it affects the people of a culture.

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