The Brave and Selfless Warrior: Hector of Troy - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1396 Words
Date:  2023-03-16


In the Greek epic, The Iliad, Homer talks about the Trojan War that led to the capture of the city of Troy by Achilles. This great battle was between the Greeks led by their demigod Achilles and the people from Troy led by their prince, Hector, son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. Hector was a great son, a loving father and a loving husband who was also a brave, thoughtful, concerned, selfless, and noble warrior who fought to protect his city of Troy. He also fought to protect his family; his wife, Andromache, and son, Astyana. Apart from fighting for the protection of his city and family, Hector also fought not for material wealth and riches but also his honor and glory.

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Hector's Love and Connection to Family

Firstly, Hector had a deeper love and connection for his family than any other heroic character in the Iliad. This love is what prompted him to fight in the Trojan War. He also wished for immortality to ensure he lived longer for their protection. The love is illustrated when he goes to visit his wife and son before the battle since he was not sure of the outcome of the war as shown in the lines 'For I am going first to my house so I can visit my people, my beloved wife, and little son since I do not know if I shall come back this way, or whether the gods will strike me down at the hands of the Achaeans (Homer 6.365-368). Another illustration for Hector's love for his son, Astyana is in the lines "Zeus, and you other immortals, grant that this boy, who is my son may be as I am, pre-eminent among the Trojans, great in strength, as am I, and rule strongly over Ilion; and someday let them say of him: 'He is better by far than his father,' and he comes in from the fighting; and let him kill his enemy and bring home the blooded spoils, and delight the heart of his mother "(Homer 476-481). Here, Hector is seen praying to the gods to grant his son favor so that he may be better than him.

Hector's Bravery and Courage

The character, Hector, is also portrayed as a brave and courageous man in the Iliad. In the text, after challenging and killing Patroclus, whom he thought was Achilles, he gathers enough courage to take on the real Achilles. He finally decides to fight Achilles as depicted in the statement, "But why am I talking to myself like this? This is no time for talking, the way a boy and a girl whisper to each other from oak tree or rock" (Homer 22.138-144). Hector is also faced with a tough decision; to either die honorably or kill the greatest of demigods, Achilles, as depicted in the line "I'll be much better off facing Achilles, either killing him or dying honorably before the city." (Homer 22.124-125). Even though his life was at risk and he knew he was fighting a losing battle, Hector had the courage to stand up and fight against Achilles.

Hector's Noble and Selfless Nature

Hector is also seen as a man of noble character, selfless, and very sympathetic. His noble nature is evident when he fought to defend his younger brother, Paris, who was largely responsible for the Trojan War after kidnapping Helen. His selflessness is depicted when he is more concerned about the safety of his people rather than his safety.

Hector's Belief in Honor and the Consequences

Hector, the prince of Troy, believed in honor. However, does this mean because Hector died at the hands of Achilles that he died an un-honorable death? Hector was a hero that suffered some inner conflict and trials that all heroes go through in their lifetime. Hector, who believed that a man should die a death of heroic glory, found he was second-guessing that statement. He was extremely terrified of dying and leaving his family and kingdom forever at times, but that is ultimately what he was fighting to protect. This made his fight worthwhile, although he was scared to death of leaving everything and everyone behind while fighting a strong warrior who has yet to lose a battle; he stuck to his statement on how a man should be proud to die in battle. Hector had no choice but to face his fears and battle Achilles, which he knew would be the greatest battle in his lifetime. In Hector's final moments before his last battle stated, "I beg you, Achilles, by your soul, and by your parents, do not allow the dogs to mutilate my body by the Greek ships. Accept the gold and bronze ransom my father and mother will give you and send my body back home to be burned in the honor by the Trojans and their wives." (Homer 006322.375- 381). Hector was the true hero in the Iliad. Though he struggled with all his inner conflict, he never deserted his troops; he stuck by them and helped defend his country one battle at a time, unlike Achilles, who only fought for glory and his desires and wills.

Hector's Weaknesses

Even with all these admirable qualities, Hector, as a human being, had his fair share of weaknesses. The fact that he was a mortal being fighting against a demigod only vulnerable at his heel was one of his greatest undoings. He ended up dying at the mercies of the same demigod. Although he was a brave warrior, Hector was anywhere close to being smart. He was a slow thinker, another great undoing. This is shown when he chose to lead his people to the Trojan war, a battle he knew they would lose against the Greek army leading to rape of women and children and many deaths. Had he thought and strategized well before the war, his life would have been spared. Another weakness Hector had was his love and affection for his son, Astyana. He became vulnerable when he comforted his son and removed his armor in the process. This compassion had him willing fully laying down his armor; he becomes exposed and got himself killed in the process. He is also prideful. Hector refused to either surrender or let anyone else lead the battles against the Greeks. Even when his son and wife begged him to call off the battle, he chose to die honorably than live with defeat- a clear indication of his pride.

Through Hector's character and qualities, we see a hero figure that is driven by courage and the need to protect his loved ones. He was a selfless man who not only wanted the best for himself but also for his family and city. However, he also shows us how pride and anger can ultimately destroy even the best of leaders. Therefore, the Iliad has used the Hector character to show the beauty of love, loyalty, and bravery in a leader and at the same time, the consequences of the same leader being proud and consumed with anger. Hence, there is a need for heroic figures and leaders to find a balance between their strengths and weaknesses.

Work Cited

The Essential Homer. Indianapolis, Indiana, Hackett Publishing Company, 2000. Print

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