The Iliad

  • 1.What are differences and similarities between Achilles’s relationship with his fellow Achaeans and Hector’s relationship with his fellow Trojans? Outline not only how these two warriors relate to those around them but to each other.

Hector and Achilles were both the leaders, Hector was the leader of the Trojan war and Achilles the leader  of the Myrmidons. The men are looked upon as great leaders, Achilles is looked at as a god and Hector a prince that leads his country. Both men made mistakes  during the war, and also miss being in the war themselves. The big difference between Achilles and Hector was what they were fighting for, Achilles was fighting to show that he was a hero, to show that he was the best. Where as Hector was fighting for his nation and his family and had a better moral judgement.

  • 2. The excerpt from Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried gives context for those of you who have not been in battle. It speaks to the breaking down of all known boundaries, such as good and evil, that occurs in war. Achilles breaks the Greek standard and religious observance of respect for the dead by dragging Hector’s body around. Even though Hector is his enemy, his acts would have been seen by a B.C. Greek soldier as sacrilege. What is it that brings Achilles back to balance after his berserk episode, and what significance can this transformation have, what does it communicate?

I believe that it was seeing Hector’s father that brought Achilles back to balance, he realises that everyone has lost during this battle and everyone is suffering not just himself. Seeing Priams suffering and weakness when asked for a proper burial helped bring Achilles morals and compassion come back.

  • 3. Achilles spends the first 18 books of the epic Refusing the Call. He even refuses the Embassy’s offer, a scene in which he proclaims an interest in a domestic life. This proclamation is interesting when compared to the circumstances of Hector in Book 22 when, as we he waits for Achilles to arrive for the final battle he knows he will ever fight, his father Priam and his mother Hecuba call to him from the gates of Troy. This scenes speaks to the inner-tug these warriors feel between two distinct codes of behavior: 1. The Warrior Code and 2. The Familial Code. The first code is dependent upon Honor and and Victory; the second on responsibility for offspring and spouse. Are these two codes mutually exclusive? Why or why not?

I believe that the Warrior Code and the Familial code are not mutually exclusive. Hector was able to show that he had a balance of both codes, wanting to fight but yet loved his family very much and wanted to protect them. Whereas Achilles only had the Warrior code in mind, fighting and winning was his only passion.

One thought on “The Iliad

  1. sxkristoffersen

    Interesting points, although I feel that Achilles had a subtle hint of the familial code through his affection toward Briseis and his friend Patroclus. He even pondered over such familial prospects via leading a domestic life. He is even willing to give Hectors body back to his father to be buried as the family wishes.

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