The Fire inside Hector and Achilles

Across cultures, fire has been considered both a life-sustaining and destructive force - it has the ability to warm and the potential to burn. The duality of fire parallels that of a Homeric hero's pursuit of honor. On one hand, the pursuit is an enticing quest for meaning and worth. The Homeric hero bows to bravery, prowess, strength and brutality - which all converge into the single element of force. Force accomplishes glorious deeds and impresses upon other men the hero's significance. Closely tied to an impressive display of force is a desire for immortality; for the Homeric hero, his essential objective is to have his deeds - his name - transcend death. The flames of glory, appealing to force and a desire for immortality, fuel the heroes Hector and Achilles of Homer's The Iliad. At the same time, the flames also consume them. Even the strongest and most valiant soldiers are human; they attempt to prevail over mortality but must ultimately come to terms with their defenselessness in the face of death. With fires kindling inside them, the Trojan Hector and the Achaean Achilles embrace force on the battlefield, seek immortality, and confront their fates. The two warriors, fused into one persona, epitomize the...

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