The Character of Hector: Tragically Human

The Iliad celebrates the heroics of some of the most famous Greek heroes, yet perhaps the most memorable character to appear in the epic poem is the Trojan warrior Hector. Throughout the poem, we get the impression that Homer treats Hector as a unique character who should be looked at differently from the Greek heroes. While the likes of Achilles and Diomedes fight thousands of miles from their homelands to achieve glory and to make a name for themselves, Hector fights to protect and defend his family and Trojan homeland which stands a mere heartbeat away from battle. In Book 6 he tells his wife Andromache that he fights to prevent her from being forced into slavery by the Achaean armies. With no other character in the poem are we given such a touching insight into their personal life or inner-most feelings. In this scene as well as many others, we see Hector as something different than the other heroes of the poem; he appears to us as both a mighty and fearsome warrior and a loving and compassionate "human" who is inevitably racing towards his own tragic fate.

The first time we are really introduced to Hector's character is in Book 3 when he chastises his brother Paris for running from Menelaus. In this scene we...

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