Why is Andromache called Hector's "precious wife"? Mention three things that would make a woman precious in the Iliad.

The first thing that would make a woman in ancient Greece precious is being a loving and faithful companion to her husband, as Andromache is towards Hector in the Iliad. Second, a woman in ancient Greece was expected to be loyal and obedient to her husband. Andromache displays this quality by doing whatever Hector tells her to do. And third, a Greek woman should be a good mother, as Andromache undoubtedly is to her son Astyanax.

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Andromache is called Hector's precious wife quite simply because she is precious to him. The entire war is caused by Paris's love for Helen, and the squabble between Agamemnon and Achilles which dominates the first half of the Iliad is caused by Agamemnon's laying claim to Briseis, whom Achilles says he loves. However, the love of Hector, a devoted family man, for his wife and his young son is unique and is the poem's most touching portrayal of domestic life.

A woman in ancient Greece might be precious for various reasons. Though we know much less about the Mycenaean period than we do about the Golden Age of Athens, it is clear that women played a very restricted role in social and public life. Intelligence or even beauty were not of the first importance. However, courage and resilience would make a woman a precious consort, as life was dangerous, even for those who did not live in a city under siege.

Another important quality, particularly for a princess, was fertility. Andromache is precious because she has provided Hector with a male heir, who, in normal circumstances, might one day rule the city. Finally, there is the matter of birth and lineage. A wife had to be a fitting consort for her husband, and for a prince of Troy, this meant a woman of noble or royal birth.

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Women in ancient Greece had very limited roles. They were confined to the home, where they were expected to perform household chores and look after their husbands and children.

Andromache, wife of the great Trojan warrior Hector, breaker of horses, is the epitome of the Greek wife and mother. She embodies three qualities that would make other people regard her as precious.

First, she is a loving and faithful companion to her husband. Andromache really isn't exaggerating when she says that Hector is everything to her. He's not just her husband, but her protector, a father, and a beloved companion all rolled into one.

Second, Andromache is obedient to her husband at all times. Though in this era of greater equality between the sexes, we might wince at the very suggestion that women should always be obedient to their husbands, in ancient Greece, it was a different story. Female obedience to men was taken for granted and was an important social value to which all women were expected to adhere at all times.

Andromache embodies this attitude, as she never fails to do what Hector asks her to do, such as when he asks her to prepare him a bath.

Finally, Andromache is precious in that she is a loving mother. Amidst all the bloodshed and carnage of war, Andromache's touching interactions with her beloved son, Astyanax, provide a welcome respite from all the slaughter taking place outside the walls of Troy.

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Hector's own words in Book VI demonstrate how precious Andromache is to him:

And yet no dire presage so wounds my mind, My mother's death, the ruin of my kind, [123] Not Priam's hoary hairs defiled with gore, Not all my brothers gasping on the shore; As thine, Andromache! Thy griefs I dread: I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led!

Here, he expresses his dread fear that something terrible could happen to her in the event of his death, such as being taken prisoner (which is indeed her fate).  In his mind, leaving her to her fate disturbs him more than losing his mother, his father, Priam, or his Trojan brothers. Implicit in this quotation is that their marriage was more than strategic; Hector truly loved Andromache.

In return, Andromache expresses her love and devotion to Hector, when in Book VI she expresses:

"Yet while my Hector still survives, I see My father, mother, brethren, all, in thee: Alas! my parents, brothers, kindred, all Once more will perish, if my Hector fall..."

It is clear that she puts her marriage and love for Hector ahead of her love for the rest of her family.  To have a wife that is more than a function of a political marriage and the producer of an heir makes her precious to Hector.

Lastly, in this male-dominated cultural context, women were often the spoils of war; one needs only to consider the importance of Helen, the wife of Sparta's king, Menelaus, whose abduction sparked the Trojan War. Women were chattel, and in this way Andromache was precious, not just to her husband, but also to his enemies. After the Trojan war and Hector's death, Andromache was given to Neoptolemus as his concubine, and she gave birth to his son. Women in this culture were objectified, and Andromache was no exception to this truth, but Homer does convince the reader that her value to Hector was more than that of chattel.

 

 

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She is precious to Hector because he loves her. She is the mother of his son who is still just a baby.  She is not like the other women who are hiding in their houses or praying at the temple to  "the awful goddess Minerva".  She is out on the wall watching for her husband and the events of the battle.

She knows what Achilles is capable of doing since it was Achilles who killed her own father in the battle with the  Cilicians. Andromache begs Hector to stay in the city with her and lead the battle from the safety of the walls. He attempts to comfort her by telling her that when his time comes, no one can stop it, but he would die just the same.

This scene in the Iliad serves to humanize Hector as we see the joy he takes in seeing his son Astyanax and his wife. Their love is elevated to the same level as the rage that pervades the epic.  At this moment in the epic of the Iliad, nothing can touch the genuine love that this family represents.  It is for this, the ideal love and family, that Hector must go out and fight.

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