The Illiad: Heroism

Essay by philosophHigh School, 12th gradeA, April 2004

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The definition of heroism is almost universally clear. It is usually the characteristic of a person who triumphs over some type of evil nemesis, or a person who is constantly rescuing people in distress. Nowadays a hero can be looked at as a person who serves his duty to his country by going to war and receiving special honors for doing so. Ancient Greece also viewed a hero by holding these standards. In the epic poem The Iliad, by Homer, Achilles and Hector are both heroic characters, but Hector is more heroic for various reasons.

One reason Hector is heroic to a greater extent than Achilles is because he was able to face-up to going to fight for the honor of Troy. Achilles only fought when he knew for sure he was going to win. In the book "The Rage of Achilles", the reader learns that Achilles was furious at Agamemnon for not withdrawing the troops after Agamemnon was forced to return his war prize.

Since Achilles had already won his war prize, he was no longer willing to fight for Agamemnon. Hector was willing to fight the whole time and whether he was going to triumph or be defeated was of no importance; only that he help his s city as long as he could.

Another reason that Hector was more heroic than the prideful Achilles was his reason for fighting in the first place. Hector was noble enough to fight for the honor and protection of the people of Troy. The only reason Achilles ever fought in the first place was because Agamemnon, the king of kings asked him to. Achilles was fighting for a cause that didn't affect him. Having a just cause is a valid reason that Hector is more heroic than Achilles.

Achilles was easily...