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Most heroic character in the Iliad

In The lliad there are a great many warriors and heroes, but Achilles and Hector figure prominently as the two greatest heroes. But of these two heroes, Achiles is considered the  central hero. Compared to Achilles, Hector is less heroic. The first word of The Iliad is 'minim' which means 'wrath' and this is the wrath of Achilles. In the first line the poet says that his purpose is to narrate the theme of Achilles' wrath : The wrath, sing goddess, of Peleus' son Achilles. Thus in the total action of the poem Achilles occupies the central position, and he is considered the central hero.  Obviously, Achilles does not appear in all the twenty four books but his presence is felt almost everywhere. The poem begins with the wrath of Achilles. In the very first book Achilles withdrew himself from the battle field. Then from book II through XII Achilles is not present physically. Meanwhile the Acheans were being defeated miserably. Thus Achilles' importance was being felt and the audiences/readers are always aware of Achilles' wrath for which the Acheans were facing serious troubles. To some readers Achilles is less heroic than Hector but if we consider the whole action of the epic, we undoubtedly find him the mightiest man and the bravest of all the warriors. We are informed that Achilles accepted a short, but eventful and glorious life rather than having a long uneventful life. We also know that Achilles was ready to accept his own death in exchange of taking revenge of his friend's death.

Achilles' character is grander than that of Hector. From the beginning to the end Hector's character does not develop. He is a lutiful /responsible man althrough. Achilles' character does undergo a great change. He was moved by Priam's plea to ransom the body of hector. Realization came to him. He was able to perceive other man's sorrow. This humane and noble side in Achilles' character made him a better man. As far as the structure of the epic and as far as Homer's purpose is concerned, Achilles remains the central focus. Through Achilles Homer teaches us the great lesson of a man's journey in moral deulopment. The poem begins with a wring deed done by Agamemnon to a suppliant father (Chryses) and ends with a right deed done by Achilles, another victim of Agamemnon to another suppliant father (Priam). The opening and closing episoder of the poem thus focus the reader's attention directly on its central theme- the personal development of Achilles. In heroism Achilles far supersedes Hector. If Hector is a hero Achilles is a superhero. Achilles possesses superhuman quality because of his half divine origin. His sea-nymph mother Thetis always cared for him. Thus according to Achilles' demand Thetis went to Hephaestus in order to make a new armour for her child Achilles. This armour made by Hephaestus possessed extraordinary quality. With this armour in, Achilles seemed to be a demigod. Hector's position is significantly diminished when Hector faces Achilles. The way Achilles killed Hector reveals Achilles' superior physical strength and heroism. Achilles seems to be irresistible.

In conclusion, we may say that Achilles is the greatest hero in The iliad. The poém narrates the story of his anger and its consequences. the iliad is also the story of another hero - Hector, but Achilles' role, importance and his presence as a whole, can be more intensely felt. In showing heroism Achilles is second to none. Therefore, Achilles is the central hero, and obviously he is the most heroic character in The iliad.


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