Compare and Contrast Between Achilles and Hector

1 January 2017

Arthur Schopenhaur, the German philosopher, once said, “Fame is something that must be won. Honor is something that must not be lost. ” Greek mythology heroes strived for fame and honor; one way is through achieving success on the battlefield. Two characters, in particular, that won fame and kept their honor is Achilles and Hector. In Rouse’s translated version of Homer’s The Iliad, Achilles and Hector may appear extremely different, but actually have numerous similarities.

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The Achaean hero, Achilles, had favor with the gods, acted as a leader in battle, and let his pride surpass his better judgment towards the Achaean army. First, Achilles impressed the gods with his fighting skills, which earned him their help. As Hephaestus forged Achilles’ new armor, he exclaimed, “I wish I could hide him from death as easily when that dreadful doom shall come! ” (Homer 224) This shows how the gods, specifically Hephaestus, wanted to protect Achilles. In addition to having the god’s on his side, Achilles encouraged his men by setting admirable examples.

Supportively, when Achilles promised his men he “[would] never pause or rest one instant” and would go “straight through the lines,” he conveys hope among his men (Homer 242). Confidently, Achilles believed he could fight off all the Trojans, which helped his men realize their potential fighting abilities too. Because Achilles was a ferocious warrior, he became the Achaean’s role model. Lastly, Achilles had too much pride that overtook the better of him. Inappropriately, Agamemnon stole Briseis off Achilles that lead Achilles to “not help [Agamemnon] with advice or action foe he has wholly deceived and beguiled [Achilles]” (Homer 109).

Afterwards, Agamemnon apologized for his actions but Achilles still refused to rejoin the battle. If Achilles were not so proud, then he would have prevented Patroclus from taking his armor and Patroclus’ premature death. With the god’s help, his encouraging attitude towards his men, and his ego, Achilles had become one of the world’s most famous characters. On the other side of the war, Hector, the Trojan hero, correspondingly gained divine admiration, reassured his men by example, and haughtily refused advice, which contributed to the Trojan’s demise.

Just like Achilles, the gods assisted Hector often. For example, Hector gave the final blow to Patroclus and “ma[de] a final boast, for [he] [was] the victor by the help of Zeus Cronid? s and Apollo” (Homer 202). Purposely, the gods guided Hector through many battles and allowed him to win plenty of glory. Moreover, Hector compared to Achilles through his heartening actions on the battlefield. Assertively, Hector did not cower from anyone especially Achilles and admirably declared, “I at least will never turn my back on battle!

I will stand up to meet him, to win or to lose it all” (Homer 221). Undoubtedly, the Trojans depended on Hector for courage, leadership, and support. Without Hector, the war would not have taken ten years to fight. Similar to Achilles, furthermore, Hector allowed his superciliousness to decide his decisions. When Polydamas advised Hector to return the army back into the city for the night, Hector rejected the proposal and told Polydamas to “no longer publish those notions of [his] any longer” because “the great god has granted [Hector] to win success before the enemy camp” (Homer 221).

If Hector had listened to the idea, he could have averted the coming battle where Achilles killed an abundance of Hector’s men and pushed the remaining Trojans back behind the city wall. Mistakenly, Hector expectantly believed his army could withstand Achilles through the night when clearly Hector should have retired in the city. Hector used the god’s help, boosted his army’s courage, and showed overconfidence throughout the epic, which lead him to winning fortunes of fame.

In conclusion, the two war heroes, Achilles and Hector, fought for different sides but still had outstanding similarities shown through Rouse’s translated version of Homer’s The Iliad. Achilles proved himself worthy of the god’s help, revitalized his men’s hope, and pompously refused to accept atonement. Hector, comparably, established beneficial relationships with the divine, reassured his men through example, and vainly rebuffed any counsel. Both of these heroes won fame but did not lose honor just as Arthur Schopenhaur described.

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