Lauren has taught English at the university level and has a master's degree in literature.
As Book 22 of Homer's The Iliad opens, we see Achilles hot on the heels of Agenor outside the city. But it's not Agenor after all--it's Apollo pretending to be Agenor. Apollo drops the disguise and Achilles is all kinds of angry when he realizes he's been tricked. He's spent all this time chasing this guy, when all Achilles really wants is to be killing Trojans and gaining glory in battle. He feels pretty ripped off. In a temper, he turns around to head back into the city and winds up face to face with none other than Hector!
Before Achilles meets up with Hector, Hector's dad, King Priam, sees Achilles running toward them in his shining armor. Priam knows what kind of warrior Achilles is, and he knows Achilles is bent on killing Hector in order to avenge the death of his friend Partroclus. He starts to beg Hector not to fight Achilles: ''Hector, my beloved son! Do not face that man alone, without a friend, or fate will soon find you out!''
Despite his dad's advice, Hector resolves to face Achilles in battle--not necessarily because he feels the need to be heroic, but because he is worried that it will make him look bad if he doesn't. Hector convinced all of his troops to sleep outside the city walls the night before even though Polydamas said it would be safer within the city. Because of Hector's decision, many Trojans are killed. Because of this, Hector says, ''I am ashamed to face the men and women of Troy.'' For the sake of his reputation, Hector resolves to meet Achilles in battle. He declares, ''Either I shall kill him and return in triumph or I shall die with honor before the gate.''
For all of Hector's big talk, it turns out he's still terrified of Achilles. As Achilles approaches, we read that Hector ''trembled to see him,'' and then ''he could stand no longer but took to flight.'' When we read that Hector 'took to flight,' that means he took off running. Achilles chased after him--together they ran around the city four times. At that point, Athena intervenes, appearing to Hector in the shape of Deiphobus, promising to fight alongside him against Achilles. Athena soon disappears, however, and leaves Hector to fend for himself against Achilles. It doesn't turn out well for Hector, as Achilles eventually kills him.
A Gruesome End
Hector, with his last breath, begs Achilles to return his body to his family for a proper burial. Achilles points out that Hector intended to provide no such accommodation to Patroclus and so Achilles refuses to give Hector any respect in death, saying ''no man living shall keeps the dogs from gnawing at your skull.'' Hector dies knowing his body will be defiled. Achilles makes good on his threats--he begins by stripping Hector's body in public and then the Greek soldiers get together and take turns stabbing or kicking his dead corpse as it lays there naked. After that, Achilles ties the corpse to his chariot and drags his body behind it. Hector's parents and his wife see this and are distraught.
Book 22 of Homer's The Iliad brings about the resolution of the dispute between Hector and Achilles. Achilles is finally able to avenge the death of his dear friend, Patroclus. After being led out of the city by Apollo disguised as another Trojan soldier, Achilles finds himself face to face with Hector. Hector's father advises him not to meet Achilles in battle, saying he will surely die if he does. Hector resolves to do it anyway in order to avoid the shame for his poor decision about sleeping outside the walls of the city the night before.
Despite this resolution, Hector isn't quite brave enough to meet Achilles face on in battle--instead he runs for his life and Achilles chases him around the city four times. Athena intervenes at this point, showing up to Hector disguised as Deiphobus, offering to help him fight Achilles. When he thinks he is not alone, Hector turns to face Achilles. Athena disappears and Achilles kills Hector in battle. Despite Hector's pleading with his dying breath, Achilles proceeds to defile Hector's body after he is killed.
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