In The Iliad, why Homer would call Andromache Hector's "precious wife."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Homer does right in calling Andromache a "precious wife."  She is precious to Hektor.  One of the most powerful elements in Homer's Iliad is that Hektor is an amazingly talented and gifted soldier, one in whom Troy places a rightful amount of faith and respect.  Yet, as abundant in arete as Hektor is, he is torn in his desire to remain with Andromache and their son, Astyanax.  In Book VI, Homer shows Hektor to be literally torn between desire and duty in what he wants to do and what he has to do.  In such a predicament, Andromache is indeed, precious to him.  Additionally, Andromache's character makes her precious.  In a setting where women are either shown to be deceptive, such as Helen, or completely wrathful, like Hera, Andromache is noble and honorable, completely devoted to her husband and supportive even though she never ranks above Troy in his eyes.  It is for this reason that she acquires even more of a precious status, in that Hektor reveres his wife, though he fully understands that he will never be able to be choose her over the needs of Troy.  It is in these lights that Homer's characterization of her as a "precious wife" is quite honorable and well meaning, indeed.

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