The Importance of Family in Homer's "The Illiad."

Essay by UifzHigh School, 11th gradeA, September 2005

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Most people would consider their family to be among their top priorities, if not their very first. In Homer's "The Illiad", Hecuba is portrayed as a woman who values family. Her emphasis on family values is demonstrated in her relationship with her son Hektor, as well as her husband Priam.

Hecuba feared Achilleus would kill her son Hektor in battle so she attempted to persuade him to refrain from fighting the great Achilleus. Unfortunately she was unsuccessful as she "could not move the spirit in Hektor", Hektor proceeded to prepare for battle (l.91). Despite Hecuba's efforts to sway her sons decision, Hektor was confident that he could win this battle. Confidence is a quality often developed in early stages of childhood, showing the reader that Hektor was brought up in a supportive and loving home, created by his parents. Hektor was no match for Achilleus and sadly lost the battle.

Hecuba knew Hektor would lose if he were to fight Achilleus, as shown when she "in tears was mourning" before Hektor had even gone to battle (l.79). This indicated that she knew Hektors strengths and weaknesses, something an attentive mother would be aware of. This knowledge provided the reader with evidence enabling them to believe that Hecuba and Hektor had a solid mother-son relationship.

Hecuba did not want Hektor to fight Achilleus, not only because she feared his death, but because she suspected that Achilleus would rob Hektor of his right to the chance of a proper burial. Hecuba believed that Hektor, when he was to die, deserved a proper and respectful burial. She told her son "for if he kills you I can no longer mourn you on the death-bed", and "nor can your generous wife mourn you, but a bit way...