From the conversation between Hector and Andromache, choose details which show great love between the two. What qualities in each are revealed?
question related to the prose translation of the iliad, book VI
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From the conversation between Helen and Hector at Alexandrus' house: "I must go home to see my household, my wife and my little son, for I know not whether I shall ever again return to them, or whether the gods will cause me to fall by the hands of the Achaeans.” We can see that Hector is a family man. He cares for the home life and the lives of his family. He could just as easily have turned around and left the city to return to the battle, but he really wants to see them.
“Dear husband,” said she, “your valour will bring you to destruction; think on your infant son, and on my hapless self who ere long shall be your widow—for the Achaeans will set upon you in a body and kill you. It would be better for me, should I lose you, to lie dead and buried, for I shall have nothing left to comfort me when you are gone, save only sorrow.
Andromache is the first to speak when they meet on the city walls. She is concerned that she will be a widow with no help. Her family is already dead at the hands of Achilles. She would rather die than lose Hector.
Andromache urges Hector to stay near to her even if the battle should come to the city. He is all she has left in the world. And, she is concerned about the safety of her baby. She feels safe in Hector's presence. She is also comfortable enough with Hector to speak her mind rather than be submissive. Andromache is after all the daughter of a king and a princess in her own right. Andromache speaks to Hector as an equal not as a "submissive wife".
Nay—Hector—you who to me are father, mother, brother, and dear husband—have mercy upon me; stay here upon this wall; make not your child fatherless, and your wife a widow; as for the host, place them near the fig-tree, where the city can be best scaled, and the wall is weakest.
Hector reveals his worst fears to Andromache and the main reason he continues to go out and fight. He fears that she will be enslaved and made a plaything among the Achaeans. He speaks to Andromache his true feelings and does not hide behind macho bravado. He is truly human in this section of Homer's epic. We see a man...not a godlike hero. He is afraid for his family, and even a little for himself. He does everything to comfort his wife and prays for his son.
", but I grieve for none of these—not even for Hecuba, nor King Priam, nor for my brothers many and brave who may fall in the dust before their foes—for none of these do I grieve as for yourself when the day shall come on which some one of the Achaeans shall rob you for ever of your freedom, and bear you weeping away...May I lie dead under the barrow that is heaped over my body ere I hear your cry as they carry you into bondage.”
Hector can bear death even the deaths of all of his family easier than he can bear the thought of his wife as a slave to his enemies.
Hector tries to comfort Andromache by telling her that he won't die before his time is up. He tells her to make herself busy doing her normal daily tasks. Hector explains to her that because he is the son of Priam, it is his duty to go out and fight for the city and for his family.
“My own wife, do not take these things too bitterly to heart. No one can hurry me down to Hades before my time, but if a man's hour is come, be he brave or be he coward, there is no escape for him when he has once been born.
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