What are the main similarities and differences between the characters of Achilles and Hector?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the most dominant characteristic both share is that they are both skilled warriors.  Homer depicts both of them as amazingly talented fighters and great leaders of men.  Achilles inspires his troops to fight for and with him, while Hector is so personified with the people of Troy.  It might be here where we see some of the greatest differences between them.  Achilles is driven by the desire for glory, the need to be remembered as a great warrior.  He recognizes that the war against the Trojans will be one for the ages.  Yet, Hector is not so consumed with personal immortality.  He genuinely identifies himself with the task of defending Troy.  However, he agonizes over this role.  If left to his own devices, he would willingly go with Andromache and Astyanax.  In this light, Hector is different from Achilles because he is much more of a tragic figure than Achilles.