In the Iliad, Book 22, in what way is Hector's decision to flee from Achilles consistent with Hector's character?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that his initial decision to flee makes sense with his character because it shows his honor.  Hector is fundamentally different from Achilles because he recognizes the horrors of war.  Achilles is much more driven simply by the power in war.  There is not as much actualized complexity in Achilles as there is in Hector, who recognizes the pain caused to his own family as a result of war, as well as the hardship suffered by all soldiers in war.  Hector's initial desire to flee is to avoid bloodshed, namely his.  Perhaps, there is a part of Hector that feels compelled to not shed Achilles' blood, but this is not that likely.  Rather, it is Hector's initial and futile hope that somehow, he can escape Achilles, enter into Troy, and avoid death.  In another sense, Hector's flight represents how he recognizes his own condition as a human being.  He knows very well that he is powerless, and his cowering in flight is what it means to be a human.  He recognizes that in his flight, his last hope of his utilization of freedom is evident against a fate for which he knows the ending and hopes against hope to not have to endure.  Finally, I would say that Hector's flight represents an act of leadership.  Hector understands that as a leader of an entire people, a nation, if you will, his survival is to inspire and give hope. This is something that Achilles does not know as he does not fight for a nation. Hector knows that if he dies, the hopes of a people, the Trojans, die with him.  His flight is a last ditch attempt to live for this image, something confirmed with the mourning Trojan women ending the book.