A Hero is Born – Achilles Or Hector?

Heroes are almost always defined as a person who rises above ordinary circumstances to bring hope and inspiration to others. A hero is an outstanding human being or a main fictional characters who, against all odds, successfully combats adversity by harnessing courage, ingenuity, or resourcefulness. In the classic story, The Odyssey, the hero Odysseus travels from the home of his father, the land of the Greeks, to the far away land of Troy to carry off the bride of his dreams, a daughter named Calypso. Unlike many of the stories that feature heroes today, The Odyssey does not end with the story of the Odysseus.


Instead, the novel continues with the Trojan War. Although it appears that the Greeks have the upper hand for most of the book, they are no match when it comes to numbers, especially when Achilles, the greatest Greek hero, returns home after becoming prisoner to the Trojan prince, Paris. Although Paris has the ability to easily capture the Greek capital city of Athens, he refuses to allow the Greeks to free him. Just then, Odysseus arrives on the scene, ready to defeat Paris and free his father from prison. However, they must first cross the sea to Greece in an effort to recover from their recent defeat at the hands of the Trojan prince, so Odysseus must enlist the help of the legendary hero, Aeneas, and join him on his cross-country journey.

The themes of the book are very similar to those of the Homeric epics. For instance, both Hector and Achilles are Greek heroes who struggle with adversity, but in the greek world, the hero Achilles is usually killed by the Trojan prince, Paris. Hector, on the other hand, is a Greek prince who is killed during the battle, but not before turning the tide of the Trojan War in his favor. He rallies his men and wins the battle, but then suffers a defeat at the hands of the Greek prince, Paris. Achilles was a hero who persevered, even though his physical body was destroyed by the Trojan warlord Paris.

Hector and Achilles were not the only Greek heroes who reached a mythology degree. When the Greeks began writing their history, many of their myths were passed down from one generation to another. And one such legend about these two Greek heroes is that of Hector and Patroclus. Although they are not among the classic Greek heroes like Achilles and Paris, their stories continue to be taught today as a part of the Greek literature curriculum.

Hector was born a hero, born to the land of Troy, where he became the greatest Trojan hero. But the Greeks claim that Hector was also born a human. Some sources state that Hector was the son of a nymph and a hero-king. And though the exact genealogy is unknown, Hector certainly possessed qualities of a heroic figure-confidence, tenacity, and courage.

The story of Hector, with its romantic subplot involving his relationship with Paris, makes him a very beloved character for generations. He is recognized as a heroic figure by scholars, not only because of his defeating of Troy, but because of the lessons he taught young Hector. Achilles and Hector are two of the most beloved Greek heroes, and perhaps because of their differences they represent two distinctly separate worlds altogether in the minds of their admirers. Achilles is the conquering hero, Hector the warrior. Perhaps it is this distinction that has made Achilles the more beloved of the Greeks than Paris, although perhaps not necessarily because of any particular qualities Achilles possesses.

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