Two Heroes: Which One Is The Greatest?

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Two Heroes: Which one is the greatest? The epic poem, The Iliad, presents readers with two heroes, Hector and Achilles. Hector is the praised hero of the Trojans and Achilles is the acclaimed hero of the Greeks. Each is considered a hero based on their embodiment of heroic qualities. These heroic qualities consist of extreme bravery, courage in the face of obstacles, superhuman strength/abilities, confidence in fighting abilities, and never, ever yielding to an opponent. Each hero is seen as a shining star amidst the other warriors in their respective camps. However, the time comes that these two, remarkable heroes must face each other, one on one, in battle. One would expect this to be an explosive battle with two great warriors fighting to the death, neither allowing the other to gain any ground. To the surprise of most, the battle does not occur in that way. Instead, when Hector and Achilles meet in battle, Hector does not exhibit the qualities that make him a great warrior/hero, but rather, by his actions, Hector demonstrates the qualities associated with a coward. Before the battle begins, Hector stands strong and confident outside the gates of Troy as he anticipates Achilles’ arrival. Upon first sighting Achilles, Hector suddenly becomes quite intimidated. Achilles is described as, “the fighter’s helmet flashing/over his right shoulder shaking the Pelian ash spear/that terror, and the bronze around his body flared/like a raging fire or the rising, blazing sun” (XXII.158-161). As Hector stood there watching Achilles, the realization of what was about to occur rattled Hector. As a result, he allows himself to be intimidated by Achilles’ appearance. Hector should not have felt intimidated by Achilles’ appearance based on one simple fact. This fact is that Hector was actually wearing Achilles’ old armor which he had taken from Patroclus’ dead body. Thus,

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