True Pride involved in Ajax and Iliad

Essay by mikemcmenamyCollege, UndergraduateC-, October 2007

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Pride plays an important factor in "The Iliad" and in "Ajax", mainly on Hector and Ajax. Their inability to listen and trust others eventually lead to their demise. Ajax and Hector never learn that they do not always have to choose pride over death. But this is the way of life for a true warrior and they really had no other alternative. These characters teach us principles that cannot be learned from textbooks or professors, the only way to learn these important principles is to actually read these texts and understand what the author is trying to tell the reader.

The turning point in Hector’s life comes when he is standing outside the gates of troy he is too proud to retreat to safety. At this point he says “You can’t kill me I can never die it’s not my fate!”(Iliad 22. 15-16) Shortly after Achilles comes for Him and kills Hector by thrusting his spear into his throat.

Hector could have easily avoided this but he was too proud to save his own life. Some may find this arrogant but it seems that Hectors judgment was just blurred by his own honor. Therefore hector should be seen as a true warrior with enough pride to give up his own life.

Ajax was killed in a similar way because of his own pride. After being tricked by a god into thinking that a herd of cattle was actually the Greek army he slaughters many cattle and is later humiliated by his actions. He cannot take this humiliation and decides to leave his wife and children even after Tecmessa plead with him to stay with his family so they are not unprotected, “Ah my heavy heart! Now by your child, by the gods, I implore you; do not be guilty of forsaking us!”(Ajax, 16) he still commits suicide because he was too proud of a man. In our world nowadays these actions would seem to be cowardly but back then things were a lot different which some may not understand when reading this book. Therefore Ajax should also be viewed not as a coward but as a true proud warrior.

As modern readers we can learn endless things from studying the characters in these two books. They not only teach us about following your heart and standing for what you believe in but we also learn about the way life was back then and the similarities that are related to the present world, just in a less dramatic way. For example many people nowadays would not give their lives for what they believe in but rather fight for their feelings in a less violent way. The way Homer and Sophocles portray Hector and Ajax is brilliant, which is why so many people still read these texts to this day. The only way you can truly learn about these stories and what is depicted by the authors is by reading them.