Coment on the relationship between Helen and Hector in Homer's Iliad.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that there is a very interesting dynamic between Hector and Helen.  Both of them represent opposite ends of the source of action.  Helen's presence in the drama is the result of Paris' desire, while Hector's presence is animated by the ethical duty that one has to nation.  In both, we see the opposing forces of action that constitute the tragic condition that Homer articulates.  This vision pits individuals in equally desirable, but ultimately incompatible courses of action.  The collision between desire and duty is where tragedy happens in Homer's drama.  This relationship guides both characters.  Hector disapproves of how Helen has entered Troy, while Helen understands that Hector is on a different moral and ethical level than his brother, who left with another man's wife to satiate his own desires.  Hector is on an ethical level that might have him not particularly relate well to Helen, but also one that compels him to understand that regardless of his feelings towards her, his primary responsibility is to defend Troy, its citizens, and its soldiers.

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