Achilles’ battles with Hector in the Iliad
In this particular ancient narration, Hector’s battle is more personal and based on experience by his parents. Hector battles something that is greater than him. The narration is set in a location accessible for both of his parents. They both beg him to stop the fight and seek for help for he is weaker from his opponent. However, Hector stands his ground and fights. Hector is badly hurt as his mother and father console him and leak his wounds. In this particular narration, Hector is displayed as the hero as he battles to save his life and that of his parents in the narration. He is portrayed by great strength and will to fight in order to save what he believes in. Hector is, however, portrayed to be loved by both his father and mother and this makes him less responsible. Additionally, Hector is portrayed as more dependent than dependable. During his battle with Achilles, every person in the family was worried on the situation with Hector because nobody expected him to fight in a gruesome battle.
On the other hand, Achilles is portrayed as a strong man who is capable of handling any situation with his life. He is described as strong athletic and dependable. During his battle with Hector, Achilles was the most probable person to win. In an argument by Hedreen (1991) Achilles overpowered Hector in all fronts. The author further points out that Hector knew his opponent was much stronger than him before even the duel began. Hector’s chance of victory was based on luck or being helped by another person. Additionally, Hector’s parents knew for a fact that Hector could be defeated and badly injured by Achilles.
For this reason, Achilles is portrayed as the better rival to win the duel. In addition, Achilles parents had a Great War history against Hectors parents. For this cases, the author of the narration believed that the gods and the stars favored Achilles. However, Hector was also portrayed as blessed kin. The family of Hector is a blessed line of generation (Hedreen, 1991). Hector was born in a family line that had a great history and successful ancestors. During the battle with Achilles, this advantage was perceived to be a significant determining factor. Hector, however, was not viewed with the same level of respect.
In analyzing the events leading to the duel, Achilles was seeking revenge to the deeds Hector did to his community. For this reason, Hedreen (1991) points out that Hector did not possess the same dignity by which his family was perceived. The confrontation between Hector and Achilles was proof that Hector was dishonest and disrespectful to other communities and clans rather than his own. This can also be supported by the fact that upon winning the duel, Achilles presented Hector’s head as a vengeful reward to people of his community. Achilles fought for pride and respect for his community. He had a point to prove to Hector who had disrespected him for a long while. As the battle is narrated the passion by Achilles to win cannot be compared by that possessed by Hector. According to Hedreen (1991) Achilles does not fight to gain a personal social stature. He fights to earn respect from the rest of the community as well as Hector. The author further points out that Achilles seeks to find sacrifice out of Hector. For this reason, he is destined to win the battle.
The outcome of the battle is as expected by the reader and as displayed by the author. Achilles wins the battle as he chops off Hector’s like a trophy. However, before the final part of the battle, Hector run away from the battle in an attempt to save himself from the rage of Achilles. His family offered help but he turned it down citing responsibility for his actions. As Hector run off, Achilles rage escalated as he followed him not giving up his goal of killing him. After Achilles catches up with him, the whole community is present to witness the end of the war. Hector puts up a war, but it was all in vain as Achilles destroyed him. He chops off Hector’s head, and he holds it high as a presentation to his community. Upon his death Hector is regarded as the villain as people applauds the final happening of the battle (Hedreen, 1991). However, Hector’s parents are devastated upon their son’s death.
Achilles’ battles with Hector in the Metamorphoses
In the incidents that culminated in the encounters of Achilles with Hector, Hector was considering offering peace to Achilles but he realized that it was futile to do so. Hector realized that at this point words are of no help. The victory of one worrier will ultimately lead to victory of one and humiliation of another similar to a woman. When the two warriors’ actuation made a confrontation of each other, Hector gave Achilles a promise that he will properly treat his corpse if he emerges victorious and he also asked Achilles to honor the same but Achilles refused.
The refusal by Achilles could have been motivated by the perception of their differences that he had. This is because Achilles viewed Hector as a slayer of Patroclos something he admits by stating that “I loved beyond all other companions, /as well as my own life” (Suzuki, 1992; 48). In regards to Patroclus death Achilles stated that there is no greater ill that he could encounter, not that of his father’s or son’s death. Furthermore, Patroclus had got into the war on Achilles behalf and was fully clad in Achilles’ armor during the time of his death.
Achilles also had to recognize that he was more similar to Hector. This is because they both shared a burden of taking part in fights while being considered heroes. They are warriors in the front lines of their armies. Moreover, they bring death among their comrades. The pride that Achilles had needed great sacrifices of his comrades which also included the death of Patroclus. Hector also admits that his own pride cost the life of his troops.
When they finally meet in the battle, Hector has Achilles armor on. Achilles instead chooses to point out their difference by pointing out the difference between “wolves and lambs” “men and lions”; he is adamant to recognize that he and Hector share any common ground. He also denies the possibility of sharing a similar language that distinguishes humans from animals. The only things that he recognizes are force and inhuman.
Hector recognizes that Achilles insistence on that recognition hides the recognition of the affinity that they have for each other since he brings out his request for a proper burial again, but Achilles refuses again. However after he is reminded of their destiny by Hector as he dies Achilles appears to have accepted his proposal for a proper burial with some bitterness.
Achilles required revenge for the death of Patroclus and it was this revenge that was an acceptable outlet for his sorrows. Achilles is aware that killing Hector, as well as other, Trojans will not get rid of his sorrows since they are not responsible for the death of his comrades since they are not responsible for the death of his comrades (Suzuki, 1992:54). However, Achilles goes ahead to drag Hector’s body around the wall of Troy; he also makes a sacrifice on the funeral pyre of Patroclus using twelve Trojan youths. It is because of this that is quite ironical that when Patroclus spirit appears he scolds Achilles because he has forgotten him.
Later, Achilles is confronted by death after he had rebelled in several occasions against Patroclus’ death. He later comes to meet his death by accepting it calmly and without having any anger in his own death. Finally, he brings together the split between words and action which followed word to the deed (Suzuki, 1992:54). He did this by offering a speech as well as Hector’s body to Prium. While reconciling with Prium, Achilles shows his acceptance of experience division that is hard-won.
The reconciliation moment was preceded by the funeral Hector’s and Patroclus’ funeral among the Trojans and the Greeks respectively. Funerals are looked at as a way in which the society heals and comes into term with the final evil gift. According to Suzuki (1992:54) Hector was distinct in the way in which the society holds sense to these disjunctions that are troubling instead of projecting his ambivalence the war of Helen as a scapegoat; he had treated Helen with kindness as well as generosity. This shows the close relationship that Helen had with Hector as well as her status as a stranger in troy who was held captive. The lamentations for Hector by Helen do not only enact the ambiguity of her own status as a stranger, but it also serves as her own lamentation.
Hedreen, G. (1991). "The Cult of Achilles in the Euxine". Hesperia 60 (3): 313–330.
Suzuki, M. (1992). Metamorphoses of Helen: Authority, Difference, and the Epic. Cornell