Category Archives: Week 3

Week 3 Iliad, the hero’s controversy

  1. Achilles is a very proud and brave warrior, but because of personal problems and character flaws he turns his back on his fellow Achaeans, and the Achaean army is crippled. He is mainly fueled by glory and thus his fellow Trojans fall by the wayside, even earning Achilles wrath as he wishes them dead by the Trojans. Hector on the other hand is a warrior unmatched by anyone except Achilles, his sensitivity and his loyalty to his homeland and family is much more protagonist-oriented than Achilles’ character. His bravery even in hopeless situations is commendable, and although Achilles and Hector are both great warriors, Achilles wins over him despite a more heroic fight on Hector’s side, and Achilles desecrates him in his death and violates his honor by dragging his corpse around by his heel, as he was blinded by revenge. In fact, as Hector dies valiantly, he teaches Achilles to mirror his values and this causes a character switch in Achilles (although not immediately). At least, that is my interpretation of the characters.
  2. There is a boundary between good and evil, but when it comes to war there are so many gray areas. There are beliefs that violence is necessary for peace, and more beliefs that violence is never the right course of action for peace. It is in these gray areas that it is socially acceptable to kill someone out of revenge, but no socially acceptable to drag their corpse disrespectfully through Troy. Achilles is violent and bloodthirsty, hungering for glory, so when he reaches the decision between a short glorious life at troy, or a long docile life in phthia, it is no surprise the short glory is more attractive to him, especially with the hopelessness of the death of his friend Patroclus. It is this change that exhibits the fundamental forces of change enforced with participation in war, and thus peace. Tim O’Brien’s short story is also illustrative of this phenomenon in humankind.

3. It seems that it is the theme of the hero’s story to find a balance between the familial responsibility, and glory in the call to adventure such as battle or journeys. In theory they could coexist, but to be truly dedicated to one requires full attention, although for part-gods like Hercules perhaps they can both be accomplished. Honor is certainly appreciated as part of family values, especially among characters of the iliad. And because I’m an optimist, I believe honor and victory can indeed be accomplished along with responsibility of a family, because if you do it just right then you could get the best of both worlds. Look at my example from last week, in “300,’ Leonidas is the bravest warrior in Sparta and answers every call beckoning him to adventure or bravery or loyalty for Sparta, and yet he also has a loving family that shares his ideals. His son, also a to-be warrior, sees only valiance in his fathers committal to battle, and his wife the queen is proud of his loyalty to Sparta, which in turn is loyalty to his family. However, he does end up dying so that part does not hold up the family responsibility end entirely. I guess if a hero dies valiantly than his martyred beliefs will live on in his family, and it is in this

The Illiad

1.   Achilles and Hector were both considered the best warriors, as well as, indispensable among their fellow comrades and societies.  It seemed that Achilles motivation to fight  for the Achaeans was honor, but not just honor from men, but from gods, and this was more valued than his loyalty or friendship to his fellow Achaeans.  This interpretation can be observed when Odysseus and Ajax, two of the greatest heroes, and Achilles’ friends, along with Phoenix, Achilles mentor and a type of father from the time of his childhood, were sent by Agamemnon with many gifts to persuade Achilles to forgive Agamemnon’s offense against him and to come back to fight in the Trojan war.  Achilles rejected the offer, even when they attested to their friendship and to the mercy of the wives and children’s horrific future, if the Greeks were to lose the war against the Trojans:  “Show some generosity and some respect.  We have come under your roof, we few out of the entire army, trying hard to be the friends you care for most of all’ (215).  Achilles did have his own troops and ship, called the Myrmidons, and they followed him, even after leaving the Achaeans when Agamemnon took his “price’, Briseis.  Achilles valued the friendship of one young man, Patroclus, more than his own honor and pride.  For this reason, the death of Patroclus made him changed his mind and he went back to fight in the war.

Hector’s motivation to fight for the Trojans was his love for his father, the king Priam, for his brother, and his country.  His family and friends were more important to him than anything else.  This can be observed when his wife, Andromache, tried to persuade him in not fighting Achilles, but he told her that the thought of the Greeks coming and taking the women and making them slaves, and killing their children, was of more concern than his own death.

      Achilles killed Hector as an act of rage, because Hector killed his beloved friend Patroclus.  Hector thought he was killing Achilles, because Patroclus was wearing Achilles armor.  The relationship between each other is of vengeance, since Achilles also had killed many Trojans, including family members.

2.   Achilles rage is brought to balance when Hector’s father, the king Priam,  visited Achilles, unnoticed, with the help of a god.  Priam first kissed Achilles  hands and persuaded him  into    giving him Hector’s body.   Priam accomplished this by making  Achilles remembered how many sons and cousins Achilles had killed in war, that  it was no different than Hector’s killing his friend.    Priam also made Achilles remembered his father, that was not suffering the same way he was, because at least, his father can have the hope of seeing him again.  The courage and words of the old man made  Achilles have mercy and pity.    Achilles changed his mind, and gave Hector’s body to Priam, but before he did  this, he made the servants washed the body and wrapped it in fine tunics for respect.  At this point, Achilles realized that the feeling he felt when Patroclus was killed was the same feeling that he caused to others, all under the command of a tyrant king.  He also realized that what he was doing to this old man, he would not want anyone doing to his own father.  The thought of his father that is destined to be far away from him, and that he cannot help or be with, filled him with guilt.  He needed to free himself from this feeling, and by honoring Priam, it was an opportunity to do this.  Benevolence came to him as he felt guilty for his actions and as he shared the grief with this King.

3.   The codes should be evaluated from two perspectives, from the country that is invading the other country, and from the country that is being invaded by another country.  In the case of the Greeks, the invaders, the warrior code and the familial code are unable to be both true at the same time.  This is because the offspring and spouse are being put in danger for the win of the battle that brings them the feeling of honor.  For Achilles, honor is the pride of winning many battles, the feeling that the gods chose his life over someone else.  For this pride, he refused to fight next to his friend, Patroclus, which cost his friend’s life.  He refused to fight for the families of his friends and for patriotism.  To fight only based on the Warrior code is to fight for oneself.

If the country is the one being invaded, there is no many options to have, in this case Troy.  For example, if the Trojans had not fought the war, their families would still be in danger.  In this sense, the Trojans fought for both, their family’s lives and future, as well as their honor, being respected for the bravery and patriotism, and both codes were possible at the same time.  Hector stated this when he told his wife, that it was necessary for him to fight Achilles, to fight in war, because for him, the thought of his wife being sold as a slave or his child killed due to the Greeks conquering Troy, was the reason for his bravery. That is, for the Trojans, fighting the war became the responsibility for the lives of their offspring and their spouses.

The Iliad

Achilles and Hector are both seen as the best fighters from their groups. They are both relied on heavily for the   fighting to be done in the war. The final standoff between the two is foreshadowing for the end of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. Whoever wins is the best fighter among both armies and thus the army they belong to has the upper hand in the war.

Achilles is brought back to balance by thinking about how his father would have been affected if the circumstances had been reversed. This transformation shows that although the excitement of war can be overwhelming and can take over a person’s being, there is always an underlying part that craves emotional peace and the well being of others.

I think the Warrior Code and the Familial Code are not mutually exclusive, because the Warrior Code can be employed to protect one’s family, which is part of the Familial Code. When victory is over someone who is intending harm on a loved one, then the family is spared and honor is given by the family.

The Iliad

The heroes Achilles and Hector were both headstrong warriors, fighting for honor in the epic The Iliad.  Achilles born with an unbridled rage and super human strength is the Hero of the Achaeans. But his pride and arrogance leaves him unable to act. Achilles even curses his own allies out of rage for a slight of honor committed against him by his own commander. Achilles is a prideful and selfish hero, leaving little thought of the Achaeans that fight for life around him. Achilles, being born half-god heeds his own call to glory, giving up on hope of a simple life for one of honor.

The hero Hector on the other hand heads a call to duty. Hector fights for Troy out of love of his people and desire to protect his family. Hector is such a hero to his people he inspires them to fight, and leads them through a gruesome war for survival. But, Hector has his own flaws. Filled with a bloodlust of his own and desire to win Hector becomes reckless.   Causing him to disregard the risk to his men and lead them to doom. Hector cannot live with himself after his loss at battle, and soon becomes victim to Achilles. Hector was defeated by his own arrogance when he decided not to heed the omens sent by the gods. It’s these flaws that relate Hector and Achilles together. Both of them share in the arrogance that ultimately leads to their demise.


What brings Achilles back from his rage after disgracing Hectors body is not Priam himself, but Priams plea for Achilles to think of his own father. Achilles is doomed to die in distant enemy lands, far from his own father. The thought that Peleus, much like Priam, would suffer if Achilles were not returned brings our hero to his senses. It is at this point that Achilles has matured. He realizes he’s destined to die and learns to accept it. This acceptance leads Achilles to strife for honor above glory. As he, like Hector, will die someday too.


I believe The Iliad at its core is a story about two men trying to balance the code of the warrior with the code of family. Achilles, a born warrior destined to walk the path of the warrior, longs for a peaceful life where he may life many years. Very similar to Hector, who is forced by fate to walk the warriors path, wants nothing more than to be a father to his son.  The largest difference is how the two characters try to balance both codes. Hector tries and tried and tried to be the best warrior he can be to protect his family, but is weighed down by this burden. In the end Hector is ashamed and refuses to retreat to the safety of Troy and instead waits for Achilles where in his final moments, he decides to run again. Hector cannot let go of his family and still refuses to accept death running till he is tricked by the Gods to stand and fight. Achilles on the other hand spends most the war deciding if he should in fact take part of the war and seal his fate; to die an early death on the battlefield. Ultimately it takes the death of Achilles dear friend Patroclus to force Achilles to action. Achilles learns that he must accept death if he wishes save the people around him. Admitting during his ride to battle that he knows what is at stake and is ready to accept his fate. I believe that The Iliad shows that neither these characters could walk both paths. Hector strives to be the warrior to save his family, but is blinded by the warrior’s code and refuses to retreat; failing his family. Achilles eventually gives up on his desire to lead a long life and accepts his fate; failing his family, but winning the greatest honor.

The Iliad

Achilles and Hector are both great warriors, however, they have their differences. Achilles put more value on winning than on anything else. He would rather let his army die so that he could get farther in battle, than trying to keep them alive as best he could. He was also stubborn. In the beginning of the first book he does not want to give Chryses back to her father for ransom, he would rather keep her as a token of winning. Hector on the other hand cares for his army. On page 196 he says “My heart is out there with our fighting men.’ He would rather fight to the death with his army then watch them die and take the credit of the win.

After Achilles breaks Greek standard and drags Hector’s body around he “snaps back into reality’ when he starts to listen to his mother. He realizes that he needs to do the right thing and go return Hector’s body so that he can receive the proper burial. This transformation shows that when in battle people don’t think in the same kind of way as when they are sitting at home around their family (i.e. their mothers’). This transformation has significance because it shows that even though he went crazy in battle he snapped back and remembered his morals again.

The Warrior Code and The Familial Code are not mutually exclusive. They overlap at times. For instance people who are in the Army must sometimes deploy even if they are working on raising a family. One example from the text is how Hector tells his wife that he must go to battle. He is sacrificing the relationship between his wife and him in order to fulfill the Warrior Code.


1.The Iliad’s characters’ Achilles and Hector provide a lot of material to compare and contrast in the context of their relationships with their communities of origin. Achilles being made of part supernatural being and part human immediately puts him in a place of reverence for his fellow Achaeans. That reverence isn’t necessarily due to his virtue or values or social worth but much more because of his physical ability and protective capabilities. His nobility stems from something he didn’t create, instead he was created as this great and strong thing which creates respect in terms of his people but the sort of respect that comes from fear rather than love. Hector was also born into his nobility but then also embodies his place among his people in a virtuous way. His love for fellow Trojans and theirs for him by contrast comes more from love than fear. I think this dynamic plays out in the character’s battles and the storyline, especially in regards to Achilles barbaric behavior following Hector’s death being just that, barbaric and without virtue.

2.The excerpt by Tim O’Brien in this week’s reading speaks of a sort of white out of all known truth and reality during wartime, a situation in which battle and bloodshed cease to be seen as atrocious and instead must be seen in this way that lives outside of whatever societal context the warrior is coming from. The reading also speaks of a waking up to these things later, after battle, and remembering incidences as what they might be within one’s societal context after they have occurred. Achilles is begged by the mourning father of Hector to have a chance to do for Hector what the Trojans would rightly do in terms of burial and respect for the dead. This is what allows Achilles to come back into the world, back into reality and back into balance after his episode of blind and barbaric absurdity. This is significant because I think it represents that awakening that O’Brien writes about in the excerpt from The Things They Carried. Since, in battle, there is this disconnection from what is real and true or maybe that truth and reality do not even exist in battle, at some point humanity must be restored. Recovery and civility must return, and I think that’s what this part of the story may represent.

3.I truly think that these two codes are both mutually exclusive and also cannot be. I think that’s why war is a horrible, awful thing. Think of every scene from the last 12 or 13 years of soldiers leaving and of their return, leaving and returning to wives and parents and children and pets. They must go, the warrior code suggests that one must go into battle to defend his or her society’s way of life and right to peruse their own happiness while at the same time risking their own chance of participating in it. Hector knows this and feels that tug and does the only thing that is honorable in terms of where and when he lived. The same is true for countless soldiers we have all known or known of in our time. Going into battle and honoring the warrior code also serves to honor the familial code in terms of being able to provide income and health insurance and housing and in terms of protecting that very family. Honoring the familial code may also mean honoring the warrior code by the same logic in that protecting one’s society and family or country is serving the family. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive, I think they are almost unbearably overlapping which is a really sad thing about Hector’s story.


1. Achilles’s relationship with his fellow Achaeans was typical of a Greek warrior. He cared and respected many of them, but honor and glory in battle surpassed true loyalty. They were many kings who contended for their own interests, and Achilles was more easily offended and quick to anger than the others. He was also so full of pride (perhaps hubris) and selfishness that he would not aide in battle because he was dishonored by Agamemnon, both when his prize was taken from him and when he was not acknowledged as being the best of the Greek warriors. When his neighbors were being cut down by Hector, he relishes, because it shows that they need him. Even when Agamemnon concedes and offers him a bounty, Achilles is still not satisfied and continues to rage and stoke his hurt pride. He doesn’t come to action until Patroclus dies, then he focuses his rampant emotions into crushing sorrow. I think he is genuinely grieved, but I think in some way exaggerated. His self-centered attitude puts his grief before all others, thinking it is greater even than a father’s grief over his son, or brother for brother. It was not good enough to get revenge; he had to desecrate the body of the warrior, too.

Hector’s relationship with his soldiers is much different. It could be that the Trojans feel more united under the rule of one king, as opposed to the Achaeans who are built of many kings who all want to be in control. There is more camaraderie between Hector and his soldiers; he fights when they fight. When he seeks out Paris, he is eager to get back to the battle field. He tells Helen, “My heart is out there with our fighting men. They already feel my absence from battle,’ (p. 196). Then as he stands alone before the walls of Troy waiting for Achilles, he is so wracked with guilt that he led so many of his men to their deaths that he cannot bear the thought of seeking refuge in the city and facing them. As a prince he has made the effort to prove himself a worthy leader to the people of Troy, training to be the best warrior so he can lead them into battle as opposed to sending them out, and the people love him for it. Achilles is a great warrior, but demands recognition for what was given to him by his birth and that he does not have to work for.

2. After Achilles went berserk, it was the plea of Priam that pulled him out of his sorrow. Achilles saw the love his own father felt for him, as well as the grief that would come when he didn’t return home. Priam moved Achilles in this way, filling him with compassion. It’s also a reminder that there are no definites in war. A father should not kiss the hand of his son’s killer, but he does so out of love for his lost child. Hate for the enemy turns to pity, because they are no different from you and your loved ones.

3. I think the two codes are mutually exclusive, though the final action may be the same. This is truer for Hector, since the war was being fought on his homeland and his family was at a greater risk. Hector exhibits the warrior code by facing off Achilles, too guilty to face his men after leading so many of them to their death. He chose instead to die with honor rather than hide behind the walls. However, he initially fought for his family. As he told his wife, he would rather be slain before hearing her cries as she was taken off to slavery. Though the drive is different, the final outcome, to fight for honor and victory, is the same.

Week 3 Illiad

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.

Achilles and Hector are similar to each other in skill level. They are both the best warriors of their time, but what makes these two legends different is the reasons for which they fight. Achilles fights for bragging rights and would rather let fellow companions die so that he can be a hero. Achilles was a one man team. Hector fought for his wife and kids and was in my opinion more honorable than Achilles, but unfortunately Hector made many costly decisions in battle that would cause many of his warriors to fall. Both Achilles and Hector were great warriors but awful leaders.

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?

When Hectors father King Priam sought out Achilles after Hectors fall. King Priam prayed to let him bury his son, and when King Priam asked Achilles to think about his father something snaps Achilles back to reality and he lets Priam give his son a burial. This transformation in Achilles communicates that Achilles is becoming less self absorbed and that forgiveness can happen even under the most harsh conditions

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 feel that someone cannot be fully committed to both codes at the same time. One can only be exclusive to one of the codes. However I do think that in different times of someones life they can switch which code they are committed to. A young soldier can commit himself to the Warrior Code until he has served his time and is ready to start a family, and then commit to the Familial Code. That same soldier cannot be committed to both codes without neglecting one or the other, if that soldier is off fighting a war than his children and wife are being neglected as he is no longer around, and if that soldier is with his family then he is not fighting in the heat of battle for the war. There is no full commitment to both Codes.

Homer’s Illiad

1) In Homer’s The Illiad, we see some very interesting similarities and differences between the respective characters of Hector and Achilles. It is first easiest to identify where exactly the motives for these two characters are different. Early on in our reading, we see how Achilles reacted to the most recent Greek misfortune on the battlefield versus the Trojans. It had become apparent to Achilles that the immortal Apollo had “rained death’ on the Greeks after the Greek warlord Agamemnon refused a ransom for a girl in his possession originating from the girl’s priestly father (177). Having confronted Agamemnon about this, and inspiring a popular demonstration in favor of returning the girl to her father, dissension between the Greeks began to transpire. Agamemnon obliged to the call to return the girl, but only at Achilles expense. In a scheme meant to bring Achilles great dishonor, Agamemnon ordered his men to go to Achilles’s camp and retrieve Achilles’s own beauty, Briseis, and turn her over to the warlord’s possession. This action was the catalyst to Achilles’s disenchantment to take part further in the fighting on the battlefield against the Trojans. The result was a long period of inactivity and sulking on Achilles part, as well as a personal plea through his mother to Zeus to bring to bear further Greek misfortune on the battlefield. This all effectively amounts to a strong indication of deeply personal, or more bluntly selfish, Greek motives existing on the battlefield. This becomes even more apparent when the only thing that reverses Achilles’s stomach for continued fighting is when his beloved friend, Patroclus, is finished off on the battlefield by Hector.

This is in stark contrast to the motives which on the surface inspired Hector. In book VI, Hector returned from the battlefield to his father’s palace to inspire his brother Paris to exit the comfort of the palace and return to the fighting occurring on the battlefield against the Greeks. Hector was approached by many, to include his mother, wife, and sister-in-law, with the idle prospect of sitting down in comfort for a while and avoiding the toils of war. Hector rebuffed all of these requests with an attribute he was quoted as saying, “My heart is out there with our fighting men. They already feel my absence from battle’ (196). It seems that Hector must have felt some disenchantment at his aim to inspire his lackadaisical brother to the battlefield where his presence was missed, but Hector I believe showed one of the utmost attributes of any leader; he genuinely felt personal empathy toward his fellow Trojans fighting and dying against the Greek invaders. This in fact was his most “personal’ interest.

But Hector’s personal interest and empathy toward his fellow Trojans in the battle is precisely similar to the motive which spurs Achilles back into battle. It only took longer for Achilles to identify with his true feelings. After Achilles became disenchanted with the fighting stemming from Agamemnon’s actions, Achilles was of the opinion, “Nothing is worth my life, not all the riches … If I stay here and fight, I’ll never return home, But my glory will be undying forever. If I return home to my dear fatherland My glory is lost but my life will be long’ (210). It is noteworthy that after speaking this, Achilles elected to take the option to fight only after Patroclus died in fighting. The fact that Achilles only felt the urge to fight until death after his close confidant met his demise means that his genuine emotions were not different than Hector’s in substance, just perhaps more deeply personalized. While Hector identified with every Trojan fighting and dying to protect Ilion, the true emotion he invested in the otherwise less than desirable fighting was the comradery of spirit that has been displayed on every battlefield that has existed since the beginning of time. This emotion can be summarized by myself as simply, “If my brother must suffer and endure the fighting, I want to be right there along with him.’ This emotion was only different for Achilles because he did not feel it for any ordinary Greek who died. This is possibly due to the nature of the gains being attained during the fighting on Trojan soil. Achilles only felt this emotion after his “brother’ died. Hector thus became the focus, as well as the prize for Achilles, in avenging Patroclus’s death.

2) While I do believe that Achilles actions may have ordinarily seemed like sacrilege amongst the Greek soldiers ordinarily, I believe that Hector may have been an exception to this code of conduct. The reason being is there is there appears to be some ambiguity as to the other Greek soldiers conduct. This is because there are multiple references of other Greeks whom “drove their bronze’ into Hector after his death (265). This is likely due to a deep seated hatred of Hector amongst the Greeks for his killing of many of the remaining Greek fighters’ brethren. So I do not entirely agree with this premise. I will say however that it appeared that the Greek gods, aka immortals, were perhaps the ones most disturbed (besides the Trojans) by this vulgarity. In fact, the only thing I see that turned Achilles away from his rage exhibited toward Hector and meant to avenge Patroclus was when his mother approached him and told him that Zeus and the other gods were “indignant’ with his behavior (258). Achilles’s response to the wishes of the gods was, “If the god on Olympus wills it so.’ Thus, Achilles knew long before Priam arrived what forces were driving Priam’s act to recover his son. This is just further evidence that the forces central to virtually every major activity or decision in Greek daily life centered the gods will. The compassion I believe that Achilles felt for Priam, father of Hector, later after Priam came into Achilles tent is therefore significant, but of less significance in the overall scheme of things than the wishes of the gods.

3) Having been in the military during wartime and having a family to support of my own, I can honestly say from a real life perspective I have pondered this question and have never come up with a definitive answer. From experience, there is a choice to make. If you go and fight, you will leave behind your family and possibly never see them again. At the very least, you will go and fight and not see them again for a very long time. For all of my experience overseas, they might say that family comes first. That is usually only true when the family circumstances are very dire. When this is not so, the military and the mission take top priority. The family suffers as a natural result, and only the strongest of bonds are able to withstand this strain. The other choice to make is not to go. The implications of not going are total lack of honor and a severance of ties with your brothers, whom you come to learn to rely on for everything during training. You feel as though breaking that brotherly bond makes your brothers weaker and more prone to hostile entities. There is no easy choice to be made. There is probably only one truth; that there is only loss whatever decision is to be made, and that a decision must be made one way or the other. I believe The Illiad speaks volumes to what I have mentioned here from my personal experience. I believe this is the books best quality as well, and I hope it makes as much sense to everyone else as it surely does to me.

The Imbalances of War

1.     Hector’s relationship with his fellow Trojan’s seems to be the Greek model of the selfless soldier. His men respect him, he has a family that the people also speak highly of, and he fights for his country even in the face of sure death. This is not necessarily the Greek ideal of a man, though. I wonder if Achilles’s relationship with his fellow Achaeans, though less amiable than Hector with his Trojans, is closer to ideal. Hector strives for Victory but very little for Honor. Achilles, on the other hand, is willing to sacrifice Victory for the sake of Honor and his relationship with the Achaeans is one of a more intense rivalry than even perhaps his rivalry with Hector. This brings me to the main similarity between the two heroes. They are both described as the strongest and well-respected among their respective groups of soldiers. In some ways it makes perfect sense that they would end up fighting one on one.

2.     After leaving the battlefield, Achilles is confronted by Priam, Hector’s father. Priam entreats Achilles to think of his own father and friends. During this scene, Achilles is probably reminded of his friend Patroclus, whose death was the catalyst for his berserk episode. Having already secured a significant Victory, Achilles’s lust for Honor seems to be cooling off. Perhaps this is an example of Tim O’brien’s view on war. “At its core, war is just another name for death, and yet any soldier will tell you, if he tells the truth, that proximity to death brings with it a corresponding proximity to life.” Achilles, after spending a long time staying out of battle, sacrificing Victory in pursuit of Honor, is suddenly thrust into battle, his friend dies, he slays the most important enemy he possibly could have and grossly defiled his body. How could he not feel closer to the human side of war after experiencing the opposing extreme, the completely animal, base side? He is so close to death that when Priam calls him to examine his closeness to life, he realizes that human kindness is within his reach as well. The significance of his following act is great – it shows an interest in the story for something beyond Victory and Honor. It shows a reverence for the human values of empathy and respect.

3.     The Warrior Code and the Familial Code are not mutually exclusive – in theory. The ideal situation would be a man that pursues Victory and Honor effectively enough to return home and care for his offspring and spouse. Hector and Achilles are both supposedly searching for that ideal, yet in the face of the realities of war, the two codes are much more difficult to reconcile. In some ways, each characters inability to balance the two codes is a major part of their own downfalls.

Achilles has been unable to make much progress towards having a family to honor with the Familial Code and seems to be a little bit unhinged because of it. His rampant lack of empathy for other soldiers contributes to his tunnel-vision of Honor. He needs a family to care about and offspring to fight for to help him balance his thirst for Victory and Honor; he needs to care as much about returning victorious and alive as he does about returning rich and well-respected. But he does not for a significant part of the story.

Hector, on the other hand, is fueled but also distracted by his dogmatic adherence to the Familial Code. His family calling to him, witnessing his climactic battle with Achilles and subsequent death, had to have been a distraction. I believe that the epic is showing that caring only about his family and not having an equal drive to gain Honor and Victory for his own and their well-being was part of his downfall. The codes are not mutually exclusive but rather two sides of a scale that when unbalanced, brings down the mightiest of men.