How Achilles and Hector Embody the Greek Warrior Ideal

Achilles vs. Hector: The Ideal Warrior's Qualities

Both Achilles and Hector are prominent warrior characters that feature in Homer's epic poem, The Iliad, but they actually demonstrate different qualities that make them vary in the extent that they embody the ideal Greek warrior. Greek warriors constantly strove for glory on the battlefield and in how they met their death. While Achilles is a masterful warrior, he differs from Hector somewhat in that he does not subordinate his own desires to those of his superiors, and Hector's reconciliation of himself with his own pending death shows him to meet it in a manner more befitting of a hero than Achilles. Therefore, although Hector was a Trojan, he would be likely to be seen by the Ancient Greek audiences as a more ideal warrior than Achilles would have been.
Within Greek culture, there were several characteristics by which ideal warriors could be judged. Heroes were expected to seek glory on the battlefield, known as kleos, earning renown through heroic deeds and the slaying of enemies. In addition, they had to demonstrate fealty to their leaders, particularly kings, if they themselves were not rulers, as well as showing respect for the gods (The Concept of the Hero, n.d.). Finally, they aspired to meet their deaths heroically, because the Greeks believed that fate was inevitable, and that people could not choose the moment of their death, but only how they could meet it (The Concept of the Hero, n.d.).
Achilles and Hector, in The Iliad, were both powerful warriors that succeed in dispatching many of their opponents; notably, Hector kills Patroclus, the friend of Achilles, which leads to Achilles re-entering the battle and slaying Hector in turn. Achilles shows himself to be much more prone to displays of emotion, as he becomes angered at the head of the military expedition, Agamemnon, when the latter demands the girl Briseis from Achilles as a prize, stating that “You are steeped in insolence and lust of...