Prince Hector of Troy and Achilles of Greece Comparative Essay Sample
Great heroes portray selfless qualities while still maintaining human flaws. In Homer's Greek epic poem The Illiad, the kingdoms of Troy and Greece were at war with each other known as the Trojan War. The ten-year-long war was initially started because Paris of Greece fell in love with and abducted Queen Helen. Prince Hector of Troy and Achilles of Greece were the two greatest soldiers in the war. Hector is the better hero because he displays resilience, loyalty, and courage without having selfish motives while Achilles' actions are for revenge against Hector, not for the good of the Greeks.
Heroes show resilience by getting back up when they are knocked down. Hector proves he is resilient by saying that "My soul would have me stand and fight, whether I kill you or am killed." (Book 22, Lines 298-299, Page 150). In this scene, Hector has come to the realization that Achilles cannot be beaten, especially with Athena on his side. Hector, even though he was knocked down after finding out that his "brother" was actually Athena in disguise, he continued to stand his ground against Achilles. Achilles, on the other hand, was not as calm, cool, and collected as Hector by saying that Agamemnon should "Give your commands to someone else, not me!" (Book 1, Line 347, Page 136). Achilles was faced with an argument against Agamemnon (his superior) and quite fighting because he didn't care about the success of his army as much as his own personal issues with Agamemnon, proving he is emotionally weak and not resilient.
Loyal heroes give all of themselves to their army in order to be successful. After being brought home, all the people of Troy wanted to praise his name: "Oh, look down, look down, go to your windows, men of Troy, and women, see Lord Hector now! Remember joy at seeing him return aline from battle, exalting all our city and our land!" (Book 24, Lines 312-316, Page 167). After Achilles killed Hector, his father, Praim, reasoned with Achilles to bring Hector's body home. All of Troy wanted to see Hector as his body was brought home because he was loved and respected by all of his people. Achilles, on the other hand, was overcome with grief and rage upon hearing of Patroclus's death. Vowing to avenge his friend, he finally returns to the battle. (Page 142). In Books 19-21, Hector killed Achilles's best friend Patroclus and to avenge his death, Achilles returned to war. Achilles only went back to fight in the war for personal reasons, not because he was loyal to the Greek army.
In their willingness to die for their country, heroes display courage. Hector knew that he was going to lose because the gods had already chosen a victor, but he wanted to die trying to save Troy: "Lord Hector stood in the gateway, resolute to fight Achilles" (Book 22, Lines 42-43, Page 143). Hector was preparing to fight Achilles at any cost even as his own father, King Priam, was trying to convince him otherwise. Hector displayed the highest sacrifice by laying down his life for Troy. "Achilles like the implacable god of war . . . " displays a different type of courage. (Book 22, Line 159-160, Page 146). Achilles was preparing to fight Hector in the scene. Although these lines prove that Achilles is courageous enough to be compared to a god of war, he is also being compared to his [Ares] characteristics of harshness, violence, and cruelty; none of which are characteristics of a hero.
Heroes should display resilience, loyalty, and courage without selfish motives. Hector is the better hero by displaying the listed characteristics without having selfish motives. Our military promotes the characteristics of resilience, loyalty, and courage even today. When men and women are far from home and miss their families, they show resilience by not letting their sorrow bring them down but by remembering that they are providing freedom for the ones they love. Loyalty is demonstrated by signing up to serve our country. Our soldiers are courageous by putting themselves in dangerous situations without hesitation so we can be safe in our country. Any ordinary person can be a hero, even you.
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