Explain the main differences between the two warriors Hector and Achilles in the Iliad. Consider their patriotism, compassion, and flaws.

In the Iliad, Achilles is quick to anger and spends most of the poem fuming against either Agamemnon or Hector. Hector is more reasonable and measured in his justifiable anger with Paris. While Achilles fights for personal glory and thinks mainly of himself, Hector considers others, particularly his father and family, and fights to defend his homeland. Achilles is a better warrior, but Hector is more heroic in his conduct.

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Achilles and Hector are both the greatest warriors of their respective camps, the Greeks and the Trojans. When it comes to their personalities, they could not be more different.

Achilles is quick to anger even from the smallest of slights and not committed to any cause outside of his own self-interests. For example, he harbors a great grudge against Agamemnon when told to give up the woman he has taken as a spoil of war. He is so angered by this that he refuses to help his fellow Greeks when they are attacked by the Trojans. His inaction results in the death of his friend Patroclus, and this spurs Achilles to seek vengeance against Hector. Once he kills Hector, he dishonors him further by dragging his corpse behind his chariot for days, relenting only when Hector's grieving father Priam begs him to stop so he can properly lay his son to rest.

Hector is Achilles' opposite when it comes to his emotions. He never allows anger or fear to control his behavior: unlike Achilles, Hector would never abandon his fellow Trojans to sulk in a tent. Family, country, and honor come before his own self-interests, making Hector a far more heroic figure than his Greek counterpart.

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First and foremost, Hector is much more of a patriot that Achilles. Whereas Achilles sulks in his tent while his comrades are getting slaughtered and even prays for their defeat, Hector is entirely committed to his cause. He is a true patriot who puts Troy above himself every time.

Another significant difference between the two warriors concerns their respective attitudes towards fighting. Hector fights because he has to, but Achilles actually gets a kick out of fighting, killing, and maiming. Hector will spill no more blood than he has to; but Achilles is like a bloodthirsty beast, as can be seen in his degrading treatment of Hector's corpse.

Achilles also fights for himself, and not for his Greek comrades. It's notable in this regard that he only emerges from his tent to reenter the fray of battle after the death of his bosom buddy Patroclus. For Achilles, war is personal. He kills Hector, not so much because he's a Trojan, but because he killed his best friend.

As for Hector, his attitude really couldn't be more different. He's utterly committed to the Trojan cause. Yes, he wants glory for himself, as indeed all warriors would have wanted at that time; but such personal glory is to be achieved through service to a higher, more noble cause.

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Although Dante, who had not read Homer, depicted Achilles being punished for lust in the Inferno, it is clear in the Iliad that his characteristic failing is wrath. He is furious with Agamemnon until he learns of the death of Patroclus, whereupon he abruptly turns the full force of his anger against Hector. He only relinquishes his bitterness against Hector at the very end of the Iliad, long after he has killed the Trojan prince.

Hector is also depicted as being angry, but with more justification and less resentment. He is angry with Paris for causing the war and angry that his wife and young son are in jeopardy because of his brother's selfishness. Hector, therefore, is portrayed as being more reasonable and responsible than Achilles. The weight of defending Troy falls on his shoulders, and he is continually thinking of others—particularly of Priam, Andromache, and Astyanax—while Achilles thinks only of his own glory. When the Trojans beat the Greeks back to the ships, causing the deaths of many of Achilles's comrades, he is indifferent.

It is often remarked that the gods in the Iliad are not morally superior to the mortals. If anything, their irresponsibility makes them less admirable and their superior power makes them less sympathetic. Achilles, unlike Hector, is the son of a goddess, and this distinction between gods and mortals is relevant to the two men. Achilles is a superior warrior, but Hector acts in a more heroic manner.

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In Homer's Iliad, the two main warriors on the Greek and Trojan sides are Achilles and Hector, respectively. Their differences are shaped by the various reasons that the Greeks and Trojans are involved in the war.

In Iliad 9, Achilles tells the embassy that Agamemnon sends to him that he (Achilles) has no quarrel with the Trojans. On the other hand, Hector is fighting on his own soil to save his own country. 

Hector may also appear more compassionate than Achilles. Achilles is not portrayed as having a wife and children back in Greece. Hector, in contrast, is shown in Iliad 6 as the husband of Andromache and the father of Astyanax. Their tearful and emotionally charged encounter before Hector returns to the battlefield is an incredibly poignant moment in the epic. 

As for their shortcomings, both Achilles and Hector exhibit a great deal of stubborness when it comes to honor. Achilles refuses to fight after Agamemnon robs him of his war-prize, Briseis. Hector refuses not to fight Achilles even though his wife pleads with him not to do so. In Iliad 22, Hector also could have returned to the safety of the city, but his concern about what his fellow Trojans would think compel him to remain on the battlefield and face Achilles.

In sum, the respective characters of Achilles and Hector are shaped by their circumstances. Hector is fighting to defend his city and family, while Achilles is fighting to gain glory and honor. 

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