Hector is a Greek hero and one of the main warriors in the Trojan army. In Greek mythology, he appears with Achilles and becomes an integral part of Achilles’ character. Critics admit that Hector is one of the most controversial characters in ancient literature depicted as a hero and villain at the same time. Thesis Hector is a real Greek hero who confirms his bravery in battlefield but his personal weaknesses depart him from the definition of hero and turn to a villain. Hector is described as a traditional Greek hero and the champion hero of the Trojans who possesses enormous power and strength.
In many situations, Hector proves that he is a real hero, brave and courageous, spirited and devoted to his army. Hector is the only commander who fights in his country. As a warrior, Hector is most succinctly identified as the sacrificer as well as victim (Bushnell 1982, p. 3). The Greek mythology also depicts Hector as alienated from his peers. His act of abduction is represented as legitimate. “Huge Priameian Hector, fierce in arms, / Led on the Trojans; with whom march’d the most / And the most valiant, dexterous at the spear” (Homer Book II, 996-997).
In fact the hero, whose death not only enacts battle sacrifice but reenacts festal sacrifice, continues the pre-death role of sacrificer that is in some cases directly connected with war and battles. As the struggling hero, Hector is isolated, sacrificed, and ostracized in narrative is beckoned as a handsome, elegant, and desirable Achilles. Called away from home, where the hero’s senses are continually and maximally indulged, women’s cooking is still alluring (Camps 1980, p. 45). And so, although heroes do not abduct, they are not represented as morally opposed to the practice of abduction.
As is so often the case in representations of opposed forces throughout the world, a trait condemned in the other is possessed by the subject, revealing that to some extent the enemy is the “us” of which the hero is emblematic. For the ancient Greeks, the figure of Hector evoked empathy. The difference is that the pathos of Hector resembles most closely the pathos of Achilles himself. Just as Hector’s death evokes the sorrow of unfulfilled promise, even more so does the death of Achilles.
In fact, in many if not most songs, ancestors are overwhelmingly summoned together as a group, from which they are not individually distinguished. “Even Achilles giving in to Priam to allow Hector’s funeral rites is motivated by a sense of rightness rather than kindness” (Moore 2000, p. 103). The narrative clearly conforms to the principle that heroes’ deaths reflect glory, its content, as well as the tone with which it was delivered. It could be that in this case the narrator feels some sense of solidarity with the hero (Crane, 1987, p. 57).
Hector proves in battle and duels that he is a real hero able to fight for peace and truth. Such major combats of ‘the Iliad’ as the Menelaus-Paris and Hector-Ajax duels, described in books 3 and 7 vividly portray that qualities and features of Greek heroes. Hector and Ajax meet on the battlefield; in the subsequent fight one of them gains the upper hand, but at the last moment the death of the defeated hero is prevented, mainly thanks to divine intervention (Thornton 1984, p. 29). From the moral and ethical standpoint, Hector departs from a hero and becomes a villain when kills Patroclos and dragged his body behind his horses.
Hector’s story explains his connection with fecundity and familial harmony, but is rolled up in his name, which serves minimally to evoke his story, as heroic epithet does in many songs of household heroes (Troy, 2004). Taken in the context of story, the hero’s death serves as recognition of indictment but also of desired exculpation. Insulted by Glaucus and Aeneas, Hector returns his courage but treats Patroclus with cruelty and violence. In the first Book, Homer gives some hits to readers naming Hector “The Hero-slaughtering Hector! ” (Homer, Book I, 304).
Thus, to repeat, this enemy’s manner of slaughtering rescues him from the humiliation. Hector departs from hero losing his courage and bravery. “Where is thy courage, Hector? for thou once / Hadst courage. Is it fled? ” (Homer Book V, 556-557). In this case, a hero’s profile as a cultic one, together with his status as a warrior, help explain the salient expression of his cruelty (Scott, 1979, p. 12). Critics explain that ‘Although Homer does tend to honor each fallen fighter by name, not infrequently the deaths come so thick and fast that even he cannot keep the victims straight” (Valiunas 1998).
The death of Patroclus, the very event that brought Achilles to set aside his wrath against Agamemnon, channels this wrath, now more violent than ever, against hector. Following Yan (2003), it is possible to explain crucially and evil nature of Hector “as a result, the warriors gain glory from winning in front of others. Avoidance of fighting is regarded as cowardly and most undesirable. Hector is the character who best exemplifies adherence to this code” (Yan 2003, p. 16). Homer portrays that the villain deals with death which suggests the assailant’s manhood.
“Hector’s shame and his thirst for immortal fame combine to cut his ties to the human with an even more effective ruthlessness than his nemesis and counterpart” (Berg, 2006, p. 387). Connected with cosmic order and social success, Hector deprives his own moral code and duty. Hector is a complex character who posses both negative and positive features. On the one hand, he conforms that he is a real hero who fights for native land and peace, but his cowardice and personal weaknesses ‘depart’ him form hero and make his a villain.
Hector is a “fighting” hero who, among other things, relocates animosity and fear to a temporally distant “place”. Given the right circumstances, however, such representations can also serve to ignite passions and justify conflict and deaths. Manhood connotes cruelty and violence which in turn reflects on the hero.
1. Berg, S. (2006). Bernardete, Seth. Achilles and Hector: The Homeric Hero. The Review of Metaphysics, 60 (2), 387.
2. Bushnell, R. W. (1982). ‘Reading “Winged Words”. Homeric Bird Signs, Similes, and Epiphanies’, Helios 9, pp. 1–13
3. Camps, W. A. (1980). An Introduction to Homer, Oxford