This essay was done at the beginning of my senior year in High School. I dug it up and thought it was okay to post here.
In Homers’ epic, The Iliad, many themes are revealed in the story of Achilles and Hector. In the epic poem, Homer writes about the Trojan War and what had happened between the two sides. On one side Achilles wanted to kill Hector for killing his best friend. On the other, Hector wanted to avoid fighting with Achilles because he was sure he would be killed by the Greek man; but because of Achilles’ hubris attitude, the prince of Troy is killed anyway. What is the main theme of The Iliad? Is it revenge? Courage? Fate?
The main theme of The Iliad is most likely revenge. Throughout the entire epic Achilles boasts about how he will kill Hector in a laconic way. “…if Hector does not feel my battering spear tear the life out of him, make him pay in his own blood for the slaughter of Patroclus.” (Page 76, Line 28-30) The tone of the passage ties into this line. Achilles was feeling angry, revenge-bent, and this specific quote is important because it is the first time Achilles tells his mother that his plan is to go to Darden and kill Hector. Thetis, Achilles’ mother, then tells her son that he will meet a swift end. In the end, Achilles is the one who had killed Hector out of revenge. As Achilles is mocking Hector and gloating at his death, Hector says that he will eventually be killed by his brother and Apollo. Achilles scoffs and tells Hector “Die, make and end. I shall accept my own whenever Zeus and the other gods desire.” (Page 81, lines 214-215) as a final jab at Hectors’ ego. This is important because later on in the story Paris and Apollo do kill Achilles for murdering Hector.
The theme of this epic could also be courage as Achilles showed amazing courage as he circumvented all of the Trojans he faced to get to Hector. He had chased Hector around the city of Troy three times before Achilles had finally caught up to him. In the end,...