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Honors Program
HONR 1101
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Emily McClure The Iliad Books 15-24 In these final books of The Iliad, I tried to focus on the characters of Hector and Achilles and really develop my thoughts about their personalities, relationship, similarities and differences. I found it extremely interesting to do this, although I’m not sure that I’ve come to any definite conclusions with my thoughts yet. Their characters are both deeply flawed, and they often seem quite different from each other. However, at other times I found myself almost confused because they would often seem quite similar as well. At first glance, Hector andAchilles are similar in obvious ways: they are their armies’best warriors, and they both take great pride in defending their names and their causes. When looking into their characters more deeply, it is interesting to note that they are also similar in the way that they both become emotionally overwhelmed at times, leading to rash ruthlessness and insensibility. For example, brave Patroclus tries to retreat when he is disarmed by the gods and speared in the back, but Hector, seeing that he is vulnerable and weak, decides to take advantage of this and kills him mercilessly. He seemed uncharacteristically cruel in this scene, especially when he jeers at Patroclus after he is already dead. “Even in death Prince Hector still addressed him: / ‘Why prophesy my sudden death, Patroclus? / Who knows,Achilles… might be hit first; he might be killed by me’” (Book XVI, 986-989). Hector’s emotional rampage in this passage is similar to Achilles’rash insincerity when kills Hector. When Hector pleads thatAchilles gives his body back to his family,Achilles responds, “‘You’ll have no bed of death, nor will you be / laid out and mourned by her who gave you birth. / Dogs and birds will have you, every
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