Source Analysis: The Death of Hector


Word Count: 341

The Death of Hector is actually just one part of a
larger work. The Iliad was written during the Dark
Ages of Greece by a blind poet named Homer. It
was mainly entertainment, but today has turned into
a significant, though unrealistic History of the Dark
ages of Greece.

The Iliad was written and performed for a bunch of
drunk, barbaric nobles who were the soldiers of the
time. That’s the reason Homer put so much
descriptive battle scenes and gory details. This is
what they wanted; lots of blood, to go with the
drinking and war. It is through this we get our first
accurate picture of the times of ancient Greece: A
backwards, warlike, perpetually drunk society
whose only real interest was to gain respect and
honor by killing everyone else. This makes no
sense, since if you kill everybody for glory, who is
left to honor you? Anyway, this was the main reason
Homer wrote the Iliad. The specific story of the
Death of Hector shows tells the story of Hector, who
wants to fight Achilles outside the city gates. He
refuses his father’s request to come inside and be
protected. In the end he is killed. This entire
episode shows the way one should act. Even if
scared, it is better to die in battle than to live a
coward. This was one of the basic tenants of the
Greek code of conduct. So, not only did the stories
entertain, but they also were the early Greeks code
of conduct. If they were to be a "good Greek", they
were to strive to be like someone in the pantheon of
heroes. This honor code was needed to keep the
people under one standard of honor and loyalty, and
what is good, right, and acceptable. This honor
code existed for many years, until Classical Greece
came around.

From this old piece of literature we can learn about
the ancient Greek way of life. It (supposedly)
accurately shows the ways Greek warriors fought,
and historically, it also tells us some about the
weapons. We can also learn about the code of
conduct that the nobility of the Greeks was expected
to live, and if necessary, die by. This makes the Iliad
the most important, and only, ancient Greek writing
we have.