Question: Compare and contrast between Hector and Achilles.
Achilles and Hector figure illustriously as the two greatest heroes in the national and universal epic “The Iliad” by Homer composed in Mid-8th Century BC. They are the powerhouses of Greece and Troy. It has been a crux matter of finding out similarities and dissimilarities between them. Here the compare and contrast are unequivocally or clearly displayed between these warriors.
A lot of similarities have sketched by Homer between Achilles and Hector. These are as follows:
Warriors of the destructive Trojan War
One of the similarities between them is that they both are warriors in the Trojan war. They lead their troops into the battle and are great fighters. During the war, they engage themselves in a duel that lasts for hours and hours since they are approximately matched. But Achilles is more powerful and daring than Hector because in absence of Achilles the Trojans progress well in the war. Nestor declares Achilles’ strength and Importance.
‘Achilles, who in the day of battle is a tower of strength to the Achaeans’.
But Hector is not less powerful as Achilles himself declares about Hector’s strength and leading power after killing him.
“Friends — lords of the Argives, O my captains!
Now that the gods have let me kill this man
Who caused us agonies, loss of crushing loss –
More than the rest of their men combined,”
So, they are similarly mighty warriors without any doubt.
Venerated and respected
The next similarity can be figured out in respect of veneration. Actually, they were the inevitable part of their camps. On both sides, people and warriors venerated them like gods and they were also respected by gods and goddesses as well.
‘No man may fight Achilles, for one of the gods is always with him’.
By this remark of Aeneas, he means to say though Achilles is supported by immortals, he also confesses that Achilles is more powerful than he is. Such respect is rare.
Pride existed in both of them
In terms of comparison, they must be considered to be boastful and are filled with egoism. When Agamemnon snatches away Achilles’ concubine and insults him, he feels extremely dishonor and leaves the battlefield as long as his intimate friend Patroclus is killed by Hector.
‘Forever quarreling is dear to your heart, and wars and battles;
and if you are very strong indeed, that is a god’s gift’.
On the other hand, Hector is also filled with self-respect that is evident in replying to his wife.
“But I would die of shame to face the men of Troy
And the Trojan women trailing their long robes
If I would shrink from battle now, a coward”
Many more similarities can be traced but the above similarities are eminent.
In terms of contrast, they are similar as are a huge number of dissimilarities between them.
Noble hearted and lion-hearted
Homer relates that Hector is a noble-hearted man. He stands for the civilized ideas of life. He adheres to the principles and constructive way of life. But on the other hand, Achilles is a lion-hearted man. He is the personification of primitive brutality and anti-social destructiveness.
” ‘If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy, my journey home is gone but my glory never dies.
If I voyage back to the fatherland I love, my pride, my glory dies…’ “.
By this saying his pride, rage, and brutality all are expressed altogether.
Difference in birth
Achilles has the birth of mortal father Peleus former king of Myrmidons and immortal mother Thetis a sea nymph. Thus, he is half-mortal and immortal and he has the only weakness that is known as “Achilles Heel”. Hector has a pure mortal birth and prince of Troy.
After the above discussion, this is really a short description of Achilles and Hector. They have many similarities and differences but they can not be judged by the same standard of morality as they belonged to two different traditions of life. They are out and out great in their respective sphere.