"The Iliad" by Homer presents a deep isight into human nature: Comparing and Contrasting Hector and Achilles

Essay by FspanishmanHigh School, 10th gradeA+, November 2006

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Homer's epic poem "The Iliad" is present as a classic because it promotes deep insight into human behavior, it is told in an elevated tone, and it contains a universal theme. Human nature in The Iliad is presented through many seminal characters that can represent different aspects of humanity. The two main characters of this epic, Achilles, the swift runner, and Hector, breaker of horses, are two character foils that, when combined, are able to represent all humanity.

Achilles and Hector are character foils, meaning they are opposites of each other. For example, Hector and Achilles are fighting in different sides of the Trojan War. Hector is son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba; therefore, he is fighting for his hometown, Troy. However, Achilles only fights for fame and glory. He cares more about his pride than his own country, and his pride clouds his honor. (IX, 315-370) Also, Hector has a family for who he cares a lot.

His wife Andromache and his son Astyanax mean a great deal for him. (VI, 405-432) Meanwhile, Achilles does not have a wife or son that he cares for; however he receives war prizes from time to time. (Book I) Furthermore, Achilles seems not to care about honoring bodies because he refuses to bring Hector's body back to his parents. (XXII, 407-417) Hector does seem to respect that tradition. In addition, Achilles has been bred by the gods. He is the son of Thetis, the goddess of the sea. (IX, 275) Hector is only the son of the King and Queen of Troy. (Book VI) In conclusion, Achilles and Hector are able to represent human pride, honor, glory, and even concern for one's family and town. Hector symbolizes the father of a family that is being destroyed by war,