Delenda Est Carthago

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In The Iliad, Hector is kind of a dick

And a coward. I mean, isn't he? This is the great Trojan hero? In fact, most of the Trojans are cowards. No wonder they lost the war. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did.

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Blogger Gordon said...

Probably part of the reason the Trojan War lasted so long was that the Greeks probably had to tell the Trojans how to fight...but what do you expect from a group that considers a big wooden horse - one that can contain an entire Greek army - a gift?

28/5/06 4:41 AM  
Blogger Brett said...

Yep. Next up Beowulf is rock hard, but a bit dim. Bonus, King Arthur is a naive optimist...

28/5/06 5:25 AM  
Blogger Disintegrating Clone said...

You hit the nail on the head. Trojans = bunch of runners.

28/5/06 10:45 AM  
Anonymous Beta Ray Steve said...

If there's one guy in the Illiad who is a dick, it's Mr.I-could-end-this-thing-by-my-own-self-but
-my-massive-ego-has-not-been sufficiently-stroked, aka Achilles.
Hector is just a really skilled regular warrior, he values his life, his family and his city. Achilles is an inhuman killin' machine, and a temperamental one, at that.
I think driving around the city dragging the corpse of your defeated opponent= A Dick, but hey, I'm an old-fashioned guy.

28/5/06 2:27 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Steve - you're definitely right, Achilles is a total dick, but at least he's not a coward. Hector is a dick BECAUSE he's a coward. I can't think of many soldiers in the war who aren't dicks, but at least Aeneas, for instance, actually goes out and fights Achilles. Hector just runs until he thinks he has an advantage.

So, Achilles = dick. But he's not a wimp on top of that.

28/5/06 2:34 PM  
Blogger john sweet said...

And, isn't it Aeneas (or is it another dude with same name different spelling) who leaves the destruction of Troy with his father on his back and son in tow to go on and found Rome? I mean, the dude could have been a king and banged Dido, but left the cave and her behind to find his own destiny!


30/5/06 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Beta Ray Steve said...

Maybe it's my present-day sensibility, but I empathized with Hector greatly. He had this whole war thrust upon him by the stupidity of others, you can't really blame him for not wanting to be first in line to die. He's a family guy, a distinct contrast with the superhumanly indifferent Achilles. Hector has something to defend, he can't be as honor-driven as the others.
Besides, if it was Odysseus running away, everyone would be like, "Brilliant plan, O! Way to not get killed!"

2/6/06 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Moose N Squirrel said...

Hector is hardly a dick; he just realizes that war is pointless and horrible and he's got some serious doubts about running off to die for a dubious cause - and given the respective fates of both him and his city, his worries seem to be pretty fairly vindicated.

It's useful to note that Homer frames Hector as the hero of the Iliad - it ends not with the demise of Achilles or the fall of Troy but with Hector's own tragic death - and portrays Hector's cause as righteous (defense of home and family) while portraying Achilles's motivations as vain, petty and hubristic (fighting for personal glory at the expense of his own people). Most memorably, Homer gives us a bloodthirsty, near-monstrous Achilles whose desecration of Hector's corpse would be an unthinkable blasphemy by the era's standards.

6/6/06 10:34 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Well, nobody comes off real well in The Iliad, Moose N., but although the author tries to make Hector the hero, or at least make him less of a dick, reading between the lines gives a different reading, I think. Yes, he realizes war is awful, but he does stab Patroclus in the back and he always wants to retreat back into the city, which is a good way to get besieged and not a good way to win a war. Now everyone has me thinking about Hector. Someone has to have written a book on him!

7/6/06 7:40 AM  
Blogger Ranger Bob said...

I dunno. I look at the Trojan War like a like a ball game.

12/6/06 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hector APPEARS to be better because we see his family etc. We only see Achilles within the context of an army camp, but inside he is a noble man and in the end does what is right. Hector buys into the heroic ideal JUST AS MUCH AS Acilles. He brags and vaunts over his kills. He's headstrong and rash (what kind of leader would bring the Trojan army out of the protection of the walls, knowing that if he IS successful it will inevitably bring Achilles back to the battle?), he treats Andromache as though she was an idiot, when she is the one who really sees the battle rationally. His teatment of Patroclus' body is just as dishonerable as the way Achilles treats him. He tries to kill old Nestor, who is ancient and a non-combatant. How honorable is that? NOWHERE does it say in "The Iliad" that Hector wanted to avoid the war. When Menlaus clearly won the duel with Paris, Hector refuses to honor the agreement. He is a fighter with a massive ego who loses his courage in the end and runs from the man he thought he could defeat.

13/3/14 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly ! The entire Iliad leans towards Hector's death and Hector's choices are what compromises his death. The theme of the Iliad is clearly the cowardice of Aoppolo and the Trojan side; old king Priam kind of plays the fatality card and doesn't hold grudge over Pâris who just committed a violation of a treaty and launches the greatest warriors to burn the Trojan empire. Hector really is a hypocrite, shows himself angry against Pâris but supports him publicly. He marginalizes himself towards his family, he disregards his wife Andromache and then he thinks because Apollo scorches the Greeks and of course Patroklos, that he is invincible! When his courage is to be tested, it doesn't match up to his arrogance and his pride. He sprints off and races around Troy three times! And then he tries to save his face before Achilles who is forced to command Zeus to balance both fates.

3/4/17 4:17 PM  

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